The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/14

Posted on | August 14, 2015 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 8/14

scripture reading: Matthew 25:31–46

Sound Advice

He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:9)

Of all the excuses people offer today for unbelief, none is more common than this: How do you expect me to believe in a God who is silent? If God would just speak to me, of course I’d believe in him. But he doesn’t. So I don’t. Don’t blame me for my unbelief. Blame God rather for his silence!

A few years ago The Washington Post tried an experiment. The editors arranged for the world-renowned violinist Joshua Bell to play in a Washington, DC, subway station. He wore jeans, a T-shirt and a baseball cap. He stood near a trash can not far from the turnstiles. He placed his open violin case at his feet and tossed in a few bills and coins to prompt the morning commuters to pause, listen, and give. Only three days earlier, Bell had played to a sold-out crowd in Boston’s Symphony Hall. In that setting people were willing to pay big money for the sheer privilege of hearing him play. Average tickets went for $100 each.

The Post wanted to discover whether beauty would transcend the banal setting and inconvenient time of a subway station. Alas, it did not. That morning, playing his three million dollar Stradivarius violin, Joshua Bell serenaded the streaming masses with Mozart and Schubert. No crowds gathered. No one applauded. Few people even seemed to notice. After forty-five minutes of a virtuoso performance, about $32 had been placed in his case.

Think about this. All the ingredients were present that morning for a chance-of-a- lifetime experience of good music: the maestro Joshua Bell, the Stradivarius violin, the musical renditions of classical masterpieces, and a crowd, all with perfectly functioning ears. To my knowledge, none of the commuters were deaf. Yet the magic moment was lost for virtually everyone. They had ears but didn’t hear.

The Washington Post experiment helps us better understand that the real problem with unbelief today is not the absence of God, as so many claim. The problem, rather, is with our busy, frantic lives, so cluttered with mundane routines and self-imposed stress. We don’t recognize the Maestro’s presence when he is standing directly in our path, offering to play a personal concert just for us for free! He tries to make eye contact, hoping we will pause long enough to hear the sweet melody he is playing, but alas, we are so focused on busy schedules and pressures that we don’t even realize what we have missed.

Occasionally Jesus makes an appearance in some formal setting where people have gathered just to see him and hear him. But more often he comes unannounced, entering the ordinary routines of ordinary days, appearing in ways we don’t expect and at times that seem inconvenient . . . hoping we’ll notice. And the music he plays is sweeter than any on earth.

As you go through this day, keep your eyes and ears open. Don’t allow the tyranny of the urgent to make you deaf to the melody of grace that is playing all around you. Listen! Can you hear it?

Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God, but only he who sees takes off his shoes; the rest sit around and pluck blackberries. —Elizabeth Barrett Browning

point to ponder • God will indeed be present in the world you inhabit today. The question is, will you see him? Will you hear his voice?

prayer focus • Eyes to see and ears to hear.


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