Taylor Swift’s record-breaking Eras Tour movie releases in theaters Friday (October 13, 2023), allowing masses of passionate Swifties and curious others who didn’t attend a concert to glimpse into likely the most profitable music tour in history.
Meanwhile, Taylor tours internationally this fall, with the second leg of her U.S. tour kicking off a year from now. Millions already clamor for tickets.
I saw one of Taylor’s Chicago shows this summer, and the spiritual connections were vast. Consider seven things Christians can learn from the Eras Tour and from what makes Taylor’s shows so moving.
1. We were created to be seen and known.
Part of what makes Taylor’s music so powerful is that it leaves many saying, “She gets me.” Many feel her lyrics perfectly encapsulate their emotions and experiences and even help them understand themselves.
The Eras Tour allows fans to draw near to the one person who seems to really know them. Of course, Taylor doesn’t know 99.9 percent of her fans—only foolish ones would think otherwise. Still, the joy Swifties feel in Taylor’s presence—perhaps even catching a glance from Taylor herself—powerfully reflects the joy of drawing near to the only One who knows and loves us perfectly.
2. We were created to image greatness.
Witnessing tens of thousands of Swifties flooding Chicago’s streets and shops hours before the show was surreal. You could spot a Swiftie a mile away as they all dressed as her. While every Taylor follower reflected her differently, they all imaged her—corporately reflecting the full array of her dazzling ensembles.
Swifties appreciated Taylor’s beauty more because of each other’s imitations. The words “I love your dress!” were exclaimed countless times that day. Yet it wasn’t just Swifties who noticed the shimmering attire of Taylor’s fans. Taylor’s dresses became more visible when worn by her followers. Through Swifties, the world saw Swift.
One of the great joys and privileges given to Christians is to “put on . . . Christ” (Rom. 13:14)—to put his sparkling attributes on display to a watching world. We were created to shimmer as jewels on the crown of Christ’s head (cf. Zech. 9:16; Mal. 3:16–17).
3. The object of our greatest affection will be more beautiful than we imagined.
Each Eras show begins with a climactic unveiling of Taylor Swift from beneath a giant canvas of pink petals. The roar of the Chicago crowd when Taylor was unveiled was deafening. One of my friends reflected on this moment: “When Taylor was revealed, her appearance seemed flawless. I had high expectations, but when the petals came off, I wasn’t disappointed. Somehow, she was more beautiful than I imagined.”
My friend observed that this moment is a dim reflection of the day Christ is revealed to his followers. Not only will his beauty not disappoint us, but he’ll be infinitely more beautiful than we ever imagined—in both appearance and character. Tim Keller notes that “the face of Jesus” is where all our longings for beauty finally culminate. Every earthly beauty points to the beauty of his face.
4. We were created for reciprocal enjoyment with the object of our greatest affection.
Taylor goes to great lengths to emphasize how much she enjoys her fans. It’s not like Swifties love seeing Taylor while she merely tolerates seeing them. The enjoyment is reciprocal. For Swifties, the thought of playing a small part in Taylor’s joy—even making her smile—makes the show sweeter.
Believer, how much more does Christ enjoy you—and not as a number in a stadium full of faces but as intimately as a bridegroom enjoys his bride. Your existence is a true and constant “ingredient in the divine happiness.” Your presence causes Christ’s heart to leap with delight (cf. Ps. 18:19; 147:11; Zeph. 3:17). Seeing you makes Jesus smile.
5. We were created for transcendent belonging and community.
How much more does Christ enjoy you—and not as a number in a stadium full of faces but as intimately as a bridegroom enjoys his bride.
Many Swifties marvel at the profound feeling of belonging they experienced gathering with countless others who shared the same object of admiration. This sweet connection transcends cultural background, socioeconomic status, personality, age, and era. Through one person, many are brought together (cf. Eph. 2:12–14).
The temporary bond felt at Eras shows points to the eternal bond within the body of Christ. Only the Christian community is joined, nourished, and held together by a sinless and eternal head (Col. 2:19). While different Swift eras bring together multiple generations of fans, Christ unites thousands of generations of God’s people (cf. Deut. 7:9; Heb. 12:1–2).
6. Pettiness turns to gratitude in the presence of beauty.
Every Eras show includes two-decade-long fans, recent followers, and everything in between. Some purchased tickets months in advance; others scooped them up minutes before the show. Yet once inside, no one says, “How come she got in?” That would be pure silliness. Everyone was too enthralled to see Taylor to have such petty thoughts.
Heaven will consist of lifelong Christ followers and death-bed converts. Yet none will feel robbed or embittered. All will overflow with joy and gratitude simply to be in Christ’s presence.
7. We were created for unmixed, timeless joy.
It’s hard to explain what I felt when I woke up the morning after seeing Taylor Swift. The best way I can describe it is sad joy. For all the happy anticipation leading up to the show, the sorrowful realization that it was over tainted my joy.
For many, that sorrow started earlier. A friend said, “It felt like the experience was ending the moment I woke up the day of the concert. My joy was ending as it was starting.” She said this pain continued into the show itself: “As joyous as it was to see Taylor, we all grieved as we celebrated because we knew the joy would soon be gone.”
Only the Christian community is joined, nourished, and held together by a sinless and eternal head.
Proverbs 10:22 says, “The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” Unlike the joy of seeing Taylor Swift—which is mixed at every point with sorrowful longings for something deeper and longer lasting—the blessings of the Lord enrich without sorrow.
Our souls were created for full and eternal joy, which can be found in Christ alone: “In your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Ps. 16:11; cf. John 15:11).
Only One Deserves Worshipful Praise
Praising the praiseworthy is fitting and pleasant. Yet no created being—including Taylor Swift—deserves worshipful praise. Worshiping a creature rather than the Creator will inevitably ruin us (cf. Jonah 2:8; Rom. 1:25). Yet there’s One for whom our souls were created to worship (cf. Col. 1:16). Worshiping him alone leads to true and eternal life.
Taylor’s music can awaken our longings but cannot ultimately satisfy our longings. Only Jesus can do that. And union with him brings no sweeter music.