Doesn’t it seem like there’s a lot of noise everywhere these days? Our screens are with us everywhere, constantly vying for our attention, shouting to us about this or that.
So when recently I heard a very unexpected story about a song that captured a nation’s attention, it was such a breath of fresh air.
In 1924 the BBC radio broadcasted live on-air a famous cellist playing in her garden (yard, for us Americans….among the flowers and trees, not tomatoes and corn). But it was not simply a solo performance. What had intrigued the BBC so much that they gathered microphones and equipment there to listen was that the musician said that when she played she was joined by a nightingale who began to accompany her music. **
This story caused me to literally catch my breath as a beautiful comparison formed in my brain.
The cellist didn’t go into her garden to perform, but to practice. She had no immediate audience in mind, but a future one. She was playing a piece that had been written specifically for her, and so I have to believe that she must have felt the rise and fall of notes that the composer knew was either particularly suited to her style of playing or to the flavor of music that she most loved. I like to think that she was both there learning this music but also enjoying becoming part of what the composer had felt was a reflection of a bit of who the musician already was in her art and truly, her essence.
As the bird joined in the melody, he wasn’t showing up for a rehearsal or concert, but simply being and doing what he was designed to do – sing! But who knew that he was created to do so in unity with another so unlike himself?
May I suggest something, friends? That the God who created you, who loves you so, has also written a melody specifically for you to give voice to in the life He’s given you! He knows you so intimately and His desire is for you to come to such a fullness of being that the song that He sings over you with joy turns and becomes your own!
Though there are notes to learn and chords to practice before they flow effortlessly there is a harmony to your life that He has composed. “For I know the plans I have for you, for good and not for evil. To give you a future and a hope.” This is what God said to a specific group of people in a specific time but the truth running through God’s heart for you is the same. He loves you!
And as you and I join God in playing the song of mercy written in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the grateful notes of reconciliation with our Creator that ring out when we trust in His grace to forgive us and wash us clean…in the playing of that song we join a great cloud of witnesses, a heavenly host that are simply waiting for us to lead out with the Song of the Redeemed. And I believe, our song was written to be played in such a way that we will be joined by some – if not many – that at first glance seem to be so very different than us.
Many, like the nightingale don’t even know that there is a song to join. Among the branches and brambles of life there are those waiting, silent until the song of new life reaches their ears. Will I be the one to bring it to them? Will you?
And it’s a song, not a project, or straining striving effort, but simply practicing, breathing in and out the melody written for uniquely for us. As “deep calls to deep”, the knowledge of beauty, love, truth, hope, and every good thing imprinted on every man and woman made in the image of God comes to life when we play, sing, dance, paint, write, or cut wood, or bake bread, or kiss our children or pet our dogs, and simply live our lives and so give life to the song of Jesus written on our hearts.
“For you are my work of art, my masterpiece” says God “created to reflect my glory, created to do of the same artistry that I do, to do my good works.” And when we do, like the nightingale in the garden, others are welcomed into God’s song, too. And how far and wide our song can soar, only God knows!
When I first heard tell of all this unprecedented musical collaboration, it was also said that when the broadcast was aired live across the United Kingdom people from all over reported that as the music wafted through the airwaves into their homes and out windows and doors that nightingales in gardens far and wide began to also join in the performance! I don’t know if this is true or not but I do think that beauty and truth attracts those who are seeking the same. Grace and mercy, kindness and love draw the same spirit together just as, sadly, anger and judgement, harshness and coldness join easily with all that is similar.
I too often forget this, maybe you do, too? When I see ugliness it makes me angry and I don’t stop to think of what beauty can I respond with. When I read things that clash with the truth that I know of Jesus I too often jump to pouring more blackness on the already grey words rather than asking God for wisdom as to how I might let Him wash those words and the abundance of the hearts that they flowed from clean and make them white as snow, just as He has done for my words and my heart.
There is a way to speak hard truths with love and humility. There is a way to respond to ugliness that is not in itself also ugly, but instead beautiful. There is a way to face the things that bring death, and rather than maiming and killing those who cling to the rotting corpses, instead offer life. There is a way – and his name is Jesus.
He is The Way amongst many paths. He is The Truth among many lies. He is The Life amongst the stench of death. Jesus, what a beautiful name it is. Jesus, the song I so desperately need to learn to sing as it was written, and not according to my own stumbles and missteps, sharps and flats in all the wrong places. Would you please come join me? Can’t you just hear His beautiful song of kindness that leads us to turn around and turn to Him? If you listen to His words you can hear it! It echoes throughout all He is! He loves us so!
“For God did not send HIs Son into the world to condemn the world, but that through Jesus the world might be saved. Whoever joins in HIs song because they believe, is not condemned. But those who reject His song, who do not believe in the name of the only Son of God – Jesus – are condemned already.” Come join in God’s song. Come believe on the name of Jesus. It’s starts with that single note. He loves you so.
**The complete story is amazing and is really worth reading in the article at this link here: (equally beautiful was Netflix’s movie “The Dig” where I first heard the reference to this remarkable occurrence.).