May 27, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: The Rest in the Symphony of Life

Brother-Aaron-236x300Being raised at 38 Borders Road meant a lot of things. One thing it meant was you were going to learn to play a musical instrument.

My whole family is musically inclined. Momma played the piano. Daddy played anything with strings on it. Billy plays the piano. Frank plays the guitar. Judy plays the piano. And I play the dickens! (Guitar)

I vividly remember momma telling me that if I was going to be a member of her family I had to learn to play something. It didn’t matter what. I just had to play something.

So, like many children, I started out taking piano lessons.  I can still visualize the Middle-C note. I remember terms like “treble cleft” and “bass cleft.” I remember the Beginner’s Book and practicing my scales.

However, somehow the concept of all those bars, lines, flats, sharps, clefts, and black dots called notes, just never gelled in my mind. I never mastered the art of reading music. So, I switched to the guitar and daddy taught me how to play by ear. Consequently, momma allowed me to remain a member of her family.

Amazingly, after all these years I can still remember some of the things I learned from my lessons. I thought about them as I wrote this column.

If I remember correctly, the treble cleft contains the notes that the right hand plays. This is called the melody. The bass cleft contains the notes that the left hand plays. This is called the harmony. And when played correctly, they produce beautiful music.

As the pianist plays, they are constrained by the notes the writer wrote. One of those notes the writer uses is one I haven’t mentioned. It is called the “rest.” The “rest” is inserted into the musical score at the precise point that the writer wants the hands of the performer to stop – to do absolutely nothing.

What a concept! Think about it. In the midst of the most difficult scores of music, sometimes the correct note to play is – no note at all. The correct sound is – silence.  And when the score dictates rest, to play another note will ruin the song.

The Spiritual application you ask? Oh, that’s simple. As Christians, our lives are a symphony written and arranged by God the Father. He wrote the score. He knows the notes He wants our lives to sound. Sometimes our lives resonate with the sound of His melody.

Sometimes we echo the harmony of His love. But every so often, the Writer of the Symphony of Our Lives writes a “rest” into the score. He knows the exact moment He wants us to stop. He knows the sound He wants our lives to sound – and it is the sound of silence.

I perceive that many of us are guilty of running past the “rests” God has placed in our lives. Then, we wonder why the melody of our lives is filled with disharmony.

We wonder why the symphony is harsh to our ears. Could it be because we thought we knew more than the Writer and Composer? Could it be that we, the novices, felt we knew more than the Master? Could it be that we ignored the “rests” and ruined the Symphony of Our Life?

In Psalms 46:10a the Writer of the Symphony of Life says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” He is saying, stop! Do absolutely nothing.  Listen to the symphony of life – and learn that I am God!

Genesis 2: 2 & 3 says, “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

God has placed some “rests” in the symphony of our lives. Please, don’t be so focused on playing the treble cleft and bass cleft of your life correctly that you miss the “rests.” Remember, to ignore the “rests” is to ruin the symphony.

Remember, sometimes the correct note to play is – no note at all. The correct sound is – silence. And when the score dictates a “rest,” to play another note will ruin the song.

Are you listening?

By the way, as you read this, Marianne and I are returning from vacation. We are enjoying the rest in life!

Brother Aaron

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