So the story goes that Joshua Bell, world renown violinist, donned his jeans and set up in Washington DC’s L’Enfant Plaza commuter station with his $3.5M three hundred year old violin and played five timeless classical pieces, while a hidden camera took in the scene. He usually plays to sold out crowds with $100+ seats. He apparently raked in a whole $32 and some change that morning in DC.
While the implications of that alone are daunting, something else struck me.
I would love to cover a variety of issues brought forth by the outcome of that one event. Things like the busyness of an American people unable to break from the tyranny of schedules, or the inability to recognize or appreciate beauty, or maybe just the absurdity of the answers given passers-by when asked if they even noticed the violinist. But as usual, it would make my thoughts too long for current attention spans of the 21st century American. So I will instead, make mention of the one thing that struck me more than all the others.
Isn’t this how we are to God? Hasn’t the Creator of all the universe set up His Presence in our busy lives, and haven’t we breezed right by with hardly a glance? Joshua Bell brought his 300-year old 3.5 MILLION DOLLAR violin via a taxi cab to the busy plaza station and no one, apparently, had any idea such value was in their midst! God sent His son of infinite more worth than all the worth of the world, timeless, here before time began, onto the stage of the world where He still abides in the lives of His children, and it is barely noticed. We keep hurrying to keep our schedules, make our events, run our lives, while all around us the Master of the Universe has spread out nature, and music, and displays of His affections but we’re too busy to notice.
The music director of the National Symphony Orchestra was asked what the outcome would be if a renown musician set up in a busy commuter station. He credited there to be 35-40 people who would recognize the quality and 75-100 would actually stop to listen. He said he’d make about $150. Nope. In that hour or so of time, maybe two or three people actually stopped to listen. He made $32 and some change.
Do we recognize God? I have to stop and think here. Do we recognize God at the grocery store, in line at the DMV, on our drives to work, in the bustle of our homes? Can we stop and take Him in if it makes us late, if it’s inconvenient, if it doesn’t fit in the schedule, if we’re tired, upset, hurting, happy…? I don’t think we do. I don’t think I do. I wouldn’t have known but one of the classical pieces Bell played that day, but would I have recognized the beauty of the music? Would it have arrested me and would I have at least paused to take it in, to appreciate it, to enjoy it?
When you read the article and begin to take in the utter genius of Bell, his child prodigy talents, the world recognition he draws, and the unique talent he possesses, draw the analogy toward your Creator. There’s no one else like Bell in his arena. He stands alone, in his own category. By his talent alone he commands respect.
Now consider Yahweh, Creator of the Universe and everything that exists. He stands alone. There is no one else like Him, anywhere, at any point in time, in any sphere or dimension, whether it be on earth, in space, or in heavenly places. Nothing compares to Him, stands as His equal or competitor. He is unique beyond the definition of unique. Nothing is His equal. He holds all the power of the universe in His being, and does not sleep nor get tired. He is everywhere, sees everything, knows everything, and exceeds everything. He has no needs. There is no limit to His abilities. His wisdom is perfect and lacks nothing. He can never learn, never be surprised, never change.
And He has set up in the busyness of our lives. He is playing His song, whether we recognize it or not. His fingerprint is on all creation and it abounds around us and before us. From the Complete Jewish Bible:
The heavens declare the glory of God, the dome of the sky speaks the work of his hands.
Every day it utters speech, every night it reveals knowledge.
Without speech, without a word, without their voices being heard, their line goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world.
Read the article about the experiment of placing Joshua Bell in the DC plaza station with his rare, valuable violin, playing world-class music in the midst of working Americans bustling to their jobs and try to see the indictment against a world that doesn’t recognize its Creator, doesn’t stop to hear Him, isn’t too interested in anything outside of personal interest and life. Let the Spirit of God move in me, and you, and a preoccupied world. Let Him convict us of our hard hearts, our selfish interests, our inability to perceive Him, recognize His beauty, know Him…
There is so much more to be said about this. Let’s encourage one another to put aside our agendas, our routines, our responsibilities long enough to see our Creator and respond, long enough to sit and listen to His music and let it change us.