He's gone from main stage to garbage dump. And in his words, he's better for it.
Braddigan is a nickname for Brad Corrigan, the lead singer of the band, self-titled. Brad sang with the indie band Dispatch until their 2002 disbanding. For Dispatch's farewell concert in Boston, between 10,000 and 30,000 were expected. The estimated attendance ended up being 110,000 - the largest concert in independent music history.
To meet Brad, you would think that he would have the rock star vibe going on. Instead, he was one of the most humble, wise, and deeply committed followers of Christ that Paul and I have ever been around. So much of what he said was straight scripture, like he lived and breathed the word of God.
I'm sure the humility comes from walking with God. But I think much was also born in the trash dumps of Managua, Nicaragua, where Brad spends half of his time. To hear him speak of Managua, you would think that he was talking about his home - a forsaken dump, filled with ever burning fires, garbage, rotting carcasses, and hundreds who have lived and died there. To hear him speak of the people, you would think he was talking about his own grandma, children, dad. Some would consider these individuals a project. He regards them as family.
Love Light and Melody, a non-profit organization founded by Brad, was created to battle the physical, emotional, educational, and spiritual affects of extreme poverty in this trash dump. Love Light and Melody is built on a simple concept: "When you walk with someone you're saying to them, 'I am with you.'"
I love that premise, "I am with you," cause I've heard those words before. Jesus hasn't left us alone in this place. He walks with us - in our strength and in our weakness - in the beauty of our lives and in the trash that we find ourselves in.
As Jesus is preparing his disciples for his death, He says, "Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live....I am in the Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (John 14:19-20)
The world can't see Him, but His followers can. The world can't see Him, so we've got to live His life. How do we make God real and apparent and visible? I'm still trying to figure out what that means for me, with long term goals and in this hour. But I sure know that Braddigan is making Christ tangible - through handshakes and flying kites with kids and song - in a place that can no longer be deemed as God-forsaken.
God was living in Managua all along. But the people couldn't see Him. Now, even through the smog, He's a little more visible. Now they just might be able to hear those words, "I am with you."