Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hidden Art: Chapter Three


I love that Schaeffer chooses MUSIC as the first specific art to discuss. My, what a large tool bag she draws from, when she recommends musical activities for our enrichment!
1. You can be a prodigy, or perhaps just proficient, on an instrument.
2. But if you're not, you can just play an instrument at home, for fun.
3. If you're really awful, you can still listen to music in your home.
4. And you can appreciate music, and discuss music, and attend concerts, whether  at Carnegie Hall or your local middle school.
5. You can even collect musical paraphernalia in your home, in an effort to bring this particular form of beauty into your life, and your family's life.

Goodness! No one is exempt! Music should be found in every home, every life.

At least three times Schaeffer reminds us that music brings RELAXATION. Music is fulfilling, satisfying, fun, sharing, expressive, freeing, it allows you to 'let off steam.'

You may play a cello or you may tap on a water glass; it's all the same to her -- the important thing is to participate.

In my life, music has always played a large, important role. I've sung and played the piano extensively since childhood. My college degree was in piano, but later i pursued literature as a teaching career. Music was relegated to a pastime, but a rather engrossing one. I usually end up playing the piano in some context in churches we attend, and I usually sing solos at some level. Playing the piano in front of people does scare me; often it nearly paralyses me. In order to offer this talent to God in His worship, I have to control the fear, pray, and then play anyway.

Singing is the opposite. I'm really not much afraid, even if I'm singing in front of hundreds of people. It's harder now that I'm older. I have less opportunity to work out my voice (like an athlete would keep his body in trim), so it's not as dependable as it was. But less than 10 years ago my voice was at its very best. I had a huge range, good air support, smooth tone. I miss those days. The time to use our talents comes, and then it passes. We must let it pass and not grieve.

Schaeffer touches on this too. "There is a place for the conscious sacrifice of the expression of a talent, asking God to show His will for the use of our lives in any way He plans ..." (42). She tells about a woman, a gifted opera singer, who felt called to leave her beloved career and serve at L'Abri. She gave up the bigger exercise of her musical gift in order to serve in other ways.

Sacrifices like these do not go unnoticed by God. It is a hard obedience. He knows we have buried our own aspirations in obedience to Him. "The 'grain of wheat' was really in the ground" (42), Schaeffer says. This is a metaphor used by Elisabeth Elliot also -- the burying of something, the relinquishing, so that it may later sprout and come up again, living, in a new form, as God sees fit.

There will be time, on God's New Earth -- endless time for music, for running and good health, for travel and matchless beauty unscarred by fallenness. Nothing we sacrifice here is really lost forever. The return of all good things to us in the New Creation is just another aspect of God's endless redemption of all things.

Here is the most beautiful piece of music I know:


  1. Music soothes the savage beast - isn't that what they say?
    It can be a calming influence (Vivaldi's 4 seasons) or stir one up (Sousa's marches) or take one back in time (childhood lullabies).
    I'm so glad God saw fit to bring music into our world! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us today.

  2. I liked, too, the emphasis that we can incorporate appreciation of music no matter what level of talent we do or don't have. I'm so glad God gifted us with music.

  3. I really like your attitude of acceptance about the passing of your voice. I never could sing well but as I have aged my voice has gotten even weaker.

    I am also looking forward to listening to the Brahms.

  4. I know I read the bio of Jane ___ but I cannot for anything remember what it is called. More than just my voice is passing as I age. Oy.

  5. What a lovely post. I think of the many gifted musicians whom I've heard at church, retreats, and conferences. I'm sure some of them could make a lot more money in the secular sector, but I'm sure He is pleased by their sacrifice. Who could sing for a worthier One?

    My aging voice is wobbly, and I am looking forward to the day when it is restored!

  6. What is the most beautiful piece of music you know? I don't think you meant for there to be a blank after that colon, but that's what I see on my screen.

    I hope I can hear you play the piano some day. <3

  7. Hmm. Gretchen, you should see a video box with a play button, and you should hear Brahms's 3rd symphony, the 3rd movement. Are you clicking through to my actual blog page? Sometimes videos don't show up on feed readers. You can find it on Youtube :)

    I hope I can play for you some day! It will probably be some Brahms or Chopin, played with lots of wrong notes!!

  8. I am looking (again) on you actual blog page. There is still a blank space. I love Brahms 3rd Symphony, though!

  9. Aha! Even viewing my own blog, on May 3 there is a blank space where I had posted a YouTube video. Just one more wacked-out thing with my far-from-fixed computer....

  10. Whew - at least this thing only required me to restart my PC - now I can see video links. :-)

  11. That's so classic, GJ!! Adam always, always asks me this, when I whine about computer troubles and BEFORE he gets himself up off the couch, "Did you restart your computer." Hahaha :) Glad it was an easy fix!!


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