Thursday, April 15, 2010

music and Creation, in which i struggle to decide what to capitalize (if you must know)

have you ever watched a musician perform? i mean really watched?

i had the privilege to take part in a benefit concert and art auction put on by our church last weekend in support of our sister parish partnership with st. paul's church in butare, rwanda. many remarkably talented musicians performed, artists contributed their work, and behind-the-scenes volunteers worked endless hours to make it happen. the experience was striking for so many reasons, some of which will have to wait for another post, maybe. but what i couldn't help writing about on a scrap of paper i found in my choir notebook even as i sat and watched a trio of friends perform was the beauty of the act of creation.

sure, playing an instrument involves a fair amount of body involvement--fingers for the piano keys, feet for the harp pedals, hands for the flute. but have you ever watched a harpist's shoulders? a pianist's jaw? a floutist's eyes? as i watched my friends perform, i was startled by the full-body nature of creation. each musician's whole being was consumed by the beauty s/he was creating. which made me think about Creation (with a capital C): what did it look like for God to pour His entire Self into Creation?

and then, as i watched this trio some more, i got to thinking about the Trinity, too. because as i watched, i wondered who was leading. at times, i could see the harpist and pianist looking to the floutist's nod or foot-tap to help keep tempo. but at other times, the floutist and harpist waited on a flash of the eyes from the pianist; and sometimes, the harpist signalled almost imperceptibly that the pianist and floutist should slow down. and always the three communicated: a smile, a nod, a glance. had they not kept perfectly in touch with each other, the beauty would have been incomplete, the creation imperfect.

which must be how it was with the Trinity at the time of Creation. the Godhead Three-in-One. what an amazing picture. now i was not only trying to imagine God pouring His whole Self into Creation; now i was trying to imagine all three Persons of the Trinity pouring Themselves into each Other and into what They were creating. i'll confess that the shack flashed through my mind once or twice, william p. young's intriguing but unsatisfying stab at a portrayal of the Trinity. (don't get me wrong: there's definitely some good stuff in there. but it's not quite it.) and as i watched these imperfect humans create stunningly beautiful but imperfect music, my breath was quite literally taken away by the thought of the Perfect God--the Perfect Trinity--creating something in His--Their--own image. what beautiful music it must have made, the music of the spheres.

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