Monday, November 15, 2010

The Conductor

Some thoughts from Sarah:
This past weekend I had a choir concert. The concert was in conjunction with the local symphony, the university choir, a nearby children’s choir, and professional opera singers. We performed music from the opera Carmen. Oddly, I must confess my favorite part was not singing or listening . . . it was watching the conductor.

Previously sitting in the audience during symphony performances, I had never had the opportunity to watch a conductor at work. In the past, I had only seen his back with the flailing (or seemingly so) arms. But this time, being in a choir that he was also conducting, I had a front row seat to watch him at work.

Our first rehearsal with both the symphony and choirs together was in a high school band hall. The room was packed with a 200 person choir and the symphony. At the helm, on a raised platform, was the conductor. He was fascinating to watch. He knew every note of the music. “Horn two, you’re late!” he would shout. “Bassoon, give me more!” “French horn, I really need you to come in there!” “Don’t rush! Don’t rush!” “Play sweetly!”

When something was done to his liking, he would shout that out as well. “Awesome!” “That was perfect!” I think my favorite was when the triangle came in just right and he exclaimed with great delight, “I love the triangle here!” I could not help but smile that he had noticed and rejoiced in something so small.

Another time he turned to the string section and said, “Are you giving me all you have? If yes, great. But if you can, give me more!”

Given the large number of us and the acoustics of the room, it was rather difficult for us all to hear one another. At times this made it hard for us to stay in tempo together. This was particularly true for a few scenes where a trumpet section played from off stage as if they were in the distance at the stadium for the bullfight. The conductor would frequently say, “The only way this is going to work is if you watch me!” “You must look up!” “Stay with me!”

As a member of the chorus, there was a lot of downtime during the rehearsals to simply observe and take it all in, and also to reflect a bit. I could not help but see the ways in which God conducts our lives.

He indeed knows every note and notices the smallest effort, like the sound of the triangle. He notices when we are late and dragging our feet, when we are rushed and running ahead. He notices when our eyes are not on Him and when we get out of tempo. He calls out to us when we are off key or miss the notes. He shouts out with delight when we play the music He has set before us as He intended. And at times He asks us “Are you giving me all you have? If yes, great. But if you can, give me more!”

The conductor this weekend gave the rehearsals and the performance his all. Often dripping with sweat, he was far from simply keeping time or passively listening to us perform. He poured his whole self into the music. His arms were not flailing after all. Each movement had a purpose. Each gesture a mission: to get the best from each of us and to make the piece come alive.

Is this not what Christ does for us? He gave His all! He poured out His whole self. Every word and every action had (and has!) purpose and mission. Arms, not flailing, but spread wide on the Cross. And why? For our salvation, to enable the best in us. And for the thriving, glorious, melodious life of His Kingdom.

The only way this will work is if we watch Him! We must look up! Stay with Him!

Somehow today, I’m a little more willing to let God conduct my life. How about you?

1 comment:

Princess Christine said...

This is wonderful, Sarah! I've never heard such a good description of the parallel between music and faith.