November 24, 2013 — by Keith Hill


The Master's Surprising Music

A tired, worn out instrument


piano keysThe piano was a dilapidated upright with a badly stained keyboard, and screws holding many of its ivories in place. Its volume pedal was stuck, and several of its keys were missing strings. The hammer felts had long since worn thin, which gave it a tinny sound.

The pianist was one of the world’s greatest Bach interpreters. He could have filled any concert hall, and yet he played this old rundown piano with great ease and dignity. Somehow he worked around the broken pedal and strings to call forth the most extraordinary music.

The piano was rundown because of its location: a remote jungle hospital in Africa. The pianist was Albert Schweitzer. He had left successful careers as a biblical scholar and concert organist to become a medical doctor, and had established a mission hospital at Lambarene. Each evening after the staff had finished supper, Dr. Schweitzer would play as they sang a hymn. Norman Cousins, the journalist, witnessed the scene during a visit to Lambarene, and described it in his biography of Schweitzer. What an amazing picture of the church and our Lord!

Music better than anyone expected


Although ECO is shiny and new in many ways, our congregations have had some wear – to put it mildly! The years have left us sounding tinny. For many, the rigors of departure have banged up the cabinet and broken some strings. We’re frequently out of tune and our volume pedal gets stuck.

Would that our Lord had a true concert grand to play, instead of this dilapidated upright of a church! He deserves a better instrument. And certainly the music of the gospel he plays would be more appealing to the world’s ears.

But you won’t hear the Lord complaining. He actually chose this instrument! And the music He brings forth is all the more amazing in its beauty because He calls it forth from this poor instrument. And get this – somehow, under His hand, the instrument itself is refurbished as He plays.

It’s well that we seek to build this new ECO church rightly. May our church-craft form an instrument marvelous for the Master’s hands.

Already he is calling forth music far better than anyone would have expected – to His great glory. Play on Lord!

Photo credit.