The Master Musician


He wasn't quite 2 years old the day he climbed up on the piano bench and struck the keys. A big smile spread over his face and his little fingers began to pound out symphonies that satisfied his soul.

At the age of 4 he watched on TV and added the mannerisms of the popular pianist, Liberace, to his own artistr y, but his "music" remained unchanged.

When he was 5 his mother told him, "Johnny, if you are going to play the piano there are some things you are going to have to learn." They got as far as "middle C" when he decided he didn't want further instructions, he was having too much fun "playing the piano" his way to be bothered with a lot of rules.

But one Sunday afternoon when he was 8 his mother found him seated at the keyboard with a sheet of music before him. The expression on his face was saying, "A song comes out of this thing. Mother knows how it's done. Those funny looking marks mean something. I wish I knew what."

He called to the kitchen, "Mom, show me how to play the piano." But his mother was expecting company for the Sunday evening meal. She had a roast to carve, gravy to thicken, potatoes to mash and a salad to toss. There was no way she could stop and give piano instructions.

"Not now," she said hurriedly. But she would never forget the look on his face or the sound of his voice when he begged, "Just one thing, Mother, show me just one thing."

Your life and mine are so much like that. We go along banging, banging away at living, making little sense and no harmony, scorning instructions, blithely accepting the results. We have yet to realize that form and design are essential if we are to live life at its highest and best.

Then one day—as if by magic— it happens. We become aware of our ignorance, our helplessness, and the futility of our way of life. Finally we are ready to live with a purpose, to come into fellowship with the Creator of the universe, glimpsing, however faintly, his purpose for our lives. We realize that we must learn to read the notes, to understand the symbols, to practice the scales, and learn the keyboard.

We can't do this alone. But if we want to, really want to, we can turn to the Master Musician and ask him to show us how. The wonderful thing is, he is never like that mother, too busy. He is always and forever ready to show us, not "just one thing," but everything we are ready to learn. Under his direction and with his help we can produce the kind of music we were created to produce.

Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church in Temple where he served as senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers. His e-mail address is cmnichols44@hot.

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2009-11-12 digital edition

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