No Greater Love: The Heart Behind It
By Rebecca Parra
Rebecca Parra attends Cochrane High School. Her mom, Mary, started this year as the Student Life Director at CSBS&C. Her father, Cesar, received his M.Div. from CSBS&C in 2011 and is the CNBC Team Leader for Missions and Evangelism. The Parra family ministered for four years in Spain as missionaries.
If you’ve heard about the No Greater Music Festival hosted by the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary & College and are wondering what all the excitement is about, I completely understand. I’ve been there! Thankfully, though, this year I can finally say I saw the event for myself. So if you’re looking for an answer to your curiosity, feel free to read on; hopefully, this article can explain why the experience is worth it.
Before getting into details, here’s a brief description of the event: No Greater Love (NGL), is a Christian worship festival that is held annually in Southern Alberta. Known as Canada’s Largest Summer Worship Event, NGL is an experience that allows Christians to enjoy worship and fellowship with each other. Christian artists come from all over the globe to share their music and encouragement.
This year, Plumb, B Haley and Jeremy Camp were among those who took the stage. There were even opportunities for a meet-and-greet with some of the artists. When not watching the concerts, people could take a walk through the Global Village, a long string of booths where they could buy clothes, accessories, Christian literature, and more. There was information available about the organizations that sponsored the event. More than a dozen food trucks provided a variety of delicious options for the guests. Since the celebration lasted a whole weekend, many decided to use their trailer and stay on campus for the duration of NGL, making it a part of their summer vacation. However, the 2019 No Greater Love didn’t exactly feel like summer fun in the sun – it was a damp weekend of chilled showers. Many of the performers who took to the stage applauded the audience’s true Canadian spirit, marvelling at the way the crowd enjoyed themselves despite the rain. Even with the weather conditions, this year’s NGL was full of experiences worth sharing. What sets the event apart from others is the outcome. God is always at work, and No Greater Love was an opportunity to understand what His love is all about.
From my perspective, there were three main tools God used to make His love real at this year’s NGL. The first one was the fellowship. As Christians, No Greater Love is a celebration! God chose us to be His people, tied together through His love, and it is exciting. Someone who elaborated on this was B Haley, who played drums for seventeen years for TobyMac’s Diverse City. From the stage, B passionately reminded his audience about the one thing they all have in common: God loves them, and that trumps all other differences between them. Many faces, one family. It is something we often forget, even in our churches. In summary: God’s love unites us.
However, some individuals have yet to experience this unity. That is why God uses evangelism as a way to display His love. His love doesn’t only apply to our churches. Although No Greater Love was a Christian event, there were people present who had yet to receive God’s love for themselves. Here are two true-story cases that demonstrate this: the first is about a man who worked in one of the food trucks parked behind the audience. His friend had been trying to present the gospel to him for a long time, and finally saw his prayers answered at NGL. The second was a young girl who’d grown up in a Christian home. She made her faith her own after the concert one night. The two different scenarios are only a couple of examples of ways God can change lives when we don’t expect it. His love saves us.
A third way God made His love known at No Greater Love 2019 was through encouragement. A common misconception about the Christian lifestyle is that it’s easy. Following Christ doesn’t guarantee a happy-go-lucky, pain-free existence on this earth. Jeremy Camp’s story can prove that. His song, “I Still Believe,” was born from the suffering he endured after losing his first wife to cancer. Likewise, for many of the people at the concert, the physical rain falling on them was far less trouble than the storm they were silently fighting through behind the scenes. Those on the stage understood this, and God used them as vessels for His renewal. His love heals us.
After pondering on everything that happened, the three words No Greater Love suddenly have a deeper meaning. It’s more than music, food, and fun. It is an event that celebrates God’s heart for His people, which is at the centre of everything. His love is at work today, and there was so much evidence of that at NGL. He is uniting the divided, saving the lost, and healing the broken. If that isn’t worth witnessing, then I don’t know what is.