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Saturday, April 4, 2015

To Be a Church Pianist

Dear Priscilla,

You are only the tender age of 12 right now, and your piano lessons are progressing very nicely. You are a far more dilligent, faithful student than I ever was at your age.  I appreciate your hard work and the joy you display in playing.  I want to share with you my thoughts on how I view playing the piano - especially in a Church setting.  Maybe someday you will find yourself before a congregation, or in an empty room with a lone piano beckoning to you.  Either way, you will have an audience.  And you will have the opportunity to worship.

Like the woman with the alabaster jar, you take the precious accumulation of your skill and preparation and break it open before the God you worship and adore.  You allow the music to pour out as an offering of love, and as a gift to each listener.  The gift is meant for the Object of worship, but the fragrance spreads abroad in each heart that lends its own adoration to the moment.  The woman in Scripture who broke her jar of perfume over Jesus' feet had only to break it open and expend her costly commodity on her Saviour - the One she adored, and Whose love she could never begin to fathom.

At the piano, we open our hearts before God and allow the song to work its way over our thoughts, to sink deep into the soul and to reverberate in the music we produce.  This is why your respect of the instrument is so important.  Your expressing of joy and sorrow, hope, peace or awe will come through in the way you play.  It will not do to plunk out the notes as if experimenting with pieces of glass and the shattering tinkle they will make as they hit the floor.  Each note matters, and how you play it matters.  The piano can be a harsh sounding instrument - don't let it be under your expression of its potential.  Developing your skill is crucial to being able to worship with all that is within you. 

 And yet even the simplest melody - strains of a child's song - played simply, beautifully, without embellishment, can be poured before the throneroom of heaven as worship before the Almighty King.  He is not impressed by our show of skill.  He delights in the praises of His own - and so your calling, if you are to be a pianist, is to worship Him.  With every ounce of your spirit, with every molecule of your being, with every thought you think each day - these should be filled with nuance of love, adoration and praise to Him.  He made us for this - to worship, to be thrilled by the thought of Him.

"All that thrills my soul is Jesus!  He is more than life to me!
And the fairest of ten thousand - in my blessed Lord, I see!"

Does He thrill you?  Then worship Him.

If the music can convey a smidgen of your joy in His presence, if it can comfort you when sad, if it can wash over your heart with reminders of His truth - then use it for His glory.

There is very little I have I can offer - I just share these musings as a reflection of what it means to worship at the piano.

When I play the piano I like to pretend no-one else is there.  In fact, I play the best alone.  It is a chance to express what can't be expressed in words, in art, in dance...in any other way.  Scripture tells us that God delights in the praises of His people.  Let your praise be delightful to Him - offer your best and break open the jar that contains the fullness of your love for Him.  

You will be able to express to Him only as much as is in you to express.  That sounds obvious - but what I mean is - if you have not dwelt long on aspects of His character, if you have not considered what it means that He loves you, that He died for you, that He is holy, that He is everywhere, that He knows you and cares for you - if you have not taken up thoughts of Him, how will your worship be poured before Him?  Can it?  Let your mind go to Him often - no thought of Him is ever wasted.

Well, dear Priscilla - I have no idea if you will grow to be a Church pianist someday.  But chances are you will continue to love to play this instrument - that you will delight in what your fingers can do on a set of keys.  I hope you will learn to pour yourself - your soul - your delight into worshiping through this medium, to the praise of His glory - that you, as His creation will reverberate back to Him His own beauty, glory and majesty.

If you do that, you'll be a great Church pianist someday.  He's the only Audience that counts.

Love,
 
Mommy