Monday, May 01, 2017


I watch my son play and piano (or the trumpet) and I am amazed. I am amazed at his technical skill, but more than that, I am amazed by the emotion he pours into the art of music.

The composer of a piece creates a musical score that to me is black marks on lines. To my son (and other musicians, of course), it is a language that speaks art. The composer wrote the music to express emotions - or at least there are emotions that can be expressed through the playing of the music.

When I watch Josh play, I can hear the emotions in the playing. I can see the emotions in the movement of his body. I can watch the emotions play out in the speed of his hands. His playing interprets the language of the music to me.

There are musicians who play music with great technical skill. Every note is correct; the timing is impeccable. And yet, there is no feeling behind the sound. I don't hear the language of the music through their playing.

Frederick Buechner in Wishful Thinking compares the Pharisees to the technically correct player of music. Everything is correct, but it is not right. It is not righteous.

"Righteousness isn't getting it all right. If you play it the way it's supposed to be played, there shouldn't be a still foot in the house."

Righteousness - alignment with God - isn't about the rules. It's about grace. It's about interpreting the grace of God to the rest of us.

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