It was my second concert with the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra. I was nervous because this was the first time I had been with the orchestra for a full concert session -- from first practice until performance day. (My first concert I snuck in halfway though the process.) I got to the venue super early and perched myself in the back of the horn section...hoping to blend in to the folding chairs until someone arrived to give more direction as to how I could help get ready.
After a few minutes, one of the french horn players arrived. I had this dialogue in my head: "Should I leave? I'm totally in his section? Should I try to make small talk? We've never really chatted before. His name is....um...something with an 'M" I think. Quick! Think of something clever and Regina-like to say!" But before I could settle on any opening words, his face got an "oh my goodness" kind of look and he leaned in and asked, "Is that Justin Bieber?"
I followed the direction of his gaze. Sure enough, there was a very-tall-for-his-age middle schooler sporting Justin Bieber's signature hair. Employing the clever tactics of semi-whispering and significant look-giving, we spent the rest of the afternoon counting the Bieber look-alikes. (Little did I know this exchange would signal the beginning of a very close and quirky friendship.) In an audience of about 50, we counted five. I make no claims to the thoroughness of our search. We were also playing music at the time. But five out of 50 certainly seemed like a high Justin/non-Justin ratio. They were everywhere!
Later that night, I was leafing through the sheet music that lives in a half-organized pile on the top of my piano. Somewhere near the bottom, I happened across the song "And they'll know we are Christians by our love."
I'm sure those kids that day didn't have naturally occurring Bieber hair. I'm sure they had to use any number of creative techniques to get the look right. And I wonder how many of them had to wait for their hair to grow a bit longer, anticipating the awaited day when they could pull off Justin's signature swoop.
Walking in love takes effort and intention too. It doesn't just happen.
But the person I'm imitating should should be as obvious as the hair on my head. In fact, it should show on all of us.
They'll know we are Christians by our love.