Thursday, October 27, 2011
"We like that our gospel gets our sins forgiven and gives us a ticket to heaven, but we're not sure of its functionality in our lives every day." --Jared Wilson
This is a line that I read yesterday in the manuscript Jared is finishing up for Gospel Deeps. It's very thought-provoking not just for me personally as I think through what that looks like in my own life, but also as I consider how I might explain this to someone else. This is an exercise I'm trying to become much more consistent with. Jared is a pastor, a writer, a brilliant wordsmith. I learn something new from him just about every single day. And often I find myself repeating words almost exactly as they came from his mouth (or pen). This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if I am repeating his words to someone who might not have heard them directly from him. But the truth is that my mind is much more simple than his.
I probably should be embarrassed to admit this, but I kept www.dictionary.com open on my laptop all day yesterday as I proofread his manuscript. ;-) There were some pretty expensive words in there! Not enough to be a distraction or keep the book from flowing had I just kept moving and used the context to help me guess at their meanings, but I looked up each one anyway just to make sure my proofreading was effective.
But I digress. The point I was wandering toward is that maybe there are some whose minds are more similar to mine than Jared's (although for your sakes I hope not ;-), in which case maybe it is helpful for me to share the ways these things I read work themselves out in my mind. Please remember you have been warned repeatedly that I am not as smart as my husband, nor will I ever be able to write like him, so set your expectations low. :-D
Back to the original statement of this post. Just what IS the functionality of the gospel in our every day lives?
I think it's the music. And I don't mean that in some artsy, fartsy, vague way.
The illustration in my mind is a piano. What a gorgeous instrument, right? I'm sure most of us have seen exquisite grand or baby grand pianos with perfectly polished keys, ornately carved legs, and gleaming finish. Whether or not we play, most of us can appreciate the artistry behind the physical instrument. It's strong and bold and beautiful. Not tucked under a bed or in a closet. It's a vivid and significant presence in pretty much any room it occupies. It carries weight and demands to be noticed. If you place a piano in a room which was previously unoccupied by a piano, people will most likely see it, right?
Such is true of the gospel I think. A life previously unaffected by the gospel should certainly look different once the gospel enters that life. But is that it? Does it end there? Am I different today because the gospel entered my life, but starting tomorrow and the next day and the day after that, I will from now on be the same as I am today? I sure hope not. What happens next then?
Ahhhhhhh, the music starts!!! Close your eyes. Can you hear it? Feel it even? Does it make you want to sway a little? Bob your head? Tap your foot? That piano is not just a decoration. It's an instrument. It was not designed to be shoved into a corner and glanced at occasionally. It was designed to fill the air with melody and harmony and sometimes lilting, soul-soothing ballads, other times energetic, toe-tapping ditties. This is the primary reason for its existence. I suppose one could really appreciate the sight of a piano, but isn't the true joy of this instrument in the music it produces? If you know how to play, don't you want to actually touch the keys and feel the smooth of the ivory under your fingertips? If you don't play, don't you long to hear the music? This is the ongoing gift. Music. Every day all day long and for any occasion, this piece of wood and metal and ivory is fully capable of providing music. We have a beautiful old piano in our church. It's as pretty as any I've seen. Sometimes I actually notice it, but many times I walk right by it and don't pay it much attention at all. But when my friend Leslie or my daughter Macy sits down to play, I cannot ignore it. It's the music that really speaks to me.
Oh that we might all learn to "play" our salvation so beautifully! It is the most precious gift we can ever receive on the day we receive it. And it is enough on that day to change us forever. But let's not stop there. Let's begin to play (or at least listen to) the music. The ballads of comfort and peace, the carols of joy, the epic hymns of awe and wonder. Every day all day long. The ivory keys of our salvation were not meant to lie still and untouched, gathering cobwebs. Let's become the brilliant musicians we were meant to be. A little practice each day until our magnificent opus becomes second nature. And wouldn't it be something if others could hear our music too?