A few nights ago, my wife and I went with a couple of our good friends to experience Handel’s Messiah.
I say experience because it was breathtaking in beauty and majesty. When Handel first composed The Messiah, he received criticism from Christians who felt the music was too sacred to be played in a concert hall and should only be played and heard inside a sanctuary. For a single night the concert hall we were sitting in became a sanctuary. Poor musicians can obscure even the greatest compositions and even the best musicians cannot save poor compositions. But when great musicians are given great compositions, then just sit back and allow it to transport you. Such was our experience this past Thursday evening.
The musicians were part of the Cleveland orchestra, which means they are arguably some of the best musicians in the world. But something happened just before the concert started that intrigued me. The musicians were all in their seats, tuning up when the first violinist stood up. Everyone stopped what they were doing and waited. She hit and held a single note. She held the note while all the other musicians tuned their instruments to her note. After she sat down everyone waited for the conductor to come out and for the concert to begin.
These were all world class musicians who have been playing their particular instrument for decades. They all knew how to tune their instrument and what it sounds like even if it is the slightest bit off. And yet, they waited for the note from the first violin.
I was reminded again that there must be a baseline and someone needs to set it. These were world class musicians, but they knew that in order for the music to sound the way it was created to sound, they needed to submit to the first note. How much more is that true with people? When I pick up a newspaper or log on to social media, I’m immediately struck by the discord. If all of the world was a concert stage, then the music we are playing is horrible. We lost the first note a long time ago and this is the result.
I love our church. I want it to be a place where people not only hear the first note over and over again but tune their lives to it. And when enough of us do that then the world will stop and listen with wonder to the music.