The music of heaven

Dr. Marc Drake, Sr Pastor., First Baptist Church Sun Lakes

Some years ago, on a Friday morning shortly before 8:00, a man rode up the escalator in a busy Washington, DC, subway station. This fellow didn’t look all that impressive: long-sleeved T-shirt, jeans and Washington Nationals baseball cap. But then this ordinary-looking man positioned himself against a wall, opened a violin case and pulled out his instrument. He turned the case around to receive any donations a passer-by might be inclined to give. Then he began to play. And for the next 45 minutes, he played a selection of classical music. For any who paused to listen a bit, they would have noticed that this was something more than just another street musician playing the violin for pocket change. In fact, as a musician, this guy was pretty amazing.

There were more than a thousand people that morning who hurried by, but very few listened. Not even briefly. Most folks just simply went about their business, reading their papers, listening to their iPods and rushing off to the places they needed to be. However, there was one three-year-old who kept tugging at his mother wanting her to stop so he could listen to the guy playing the “fiddle.”

But this wasn’t just any musician that morning at the subway station. This was Joshua Bell, the internationally-acclaimed virtuoso who normally plays in the most celebrated concert halls in the world. Furthermore, Bell was playing some of the finest baroque music ever written and playing it on a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin worth an estimated 3.5 million dollars. Think about that: One of the most talented musicians alive was playing some of the most beautiful music ever written on one of the most finely-crafted instruments ever made! And a thousand people missed it that morning because they didn’t stop to pay attention and listen to just how beautiful it really was.

On a much more serious level, the danger is that people will treat Jesus Christ the same way. Some will acknowledge Him as a great man, and they may know a few of the most famous stories about Him. But because they fail to understand His true identity as the divine Son of God, they dismiss Him (much like those who breezed past the violinist in the subway that morning). Many people see Jesus as simply a man: perhaps an unusual man (even an extraordinary one) but still just a man. Consequently, they end up missing the beauty, power and freedom of the life-changing message of the gospel.

At the transfiguration of Jesus, God the Father spoke from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son; listen to Him” (Mark 9:7). For us to truly listen to Jesus is to meet Him in the Scriptures and apply what He says to our lives each day. And to do so is to truly experience “the music of heaven.”