Accompaniment

Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you.                     Last week Beth and I were in New York to hear our niece Kristin play at Carnegie Hall. She's a world-class pianist with the Vienna State Opera, and she was accompanying a couple of singers in a recital. It's a wonder to watch as well as to hear. She doesn't just play the notes behind the soloist. She creates a musical world in which their singing can live and belong and shine. She does it not only with perfect skill, but with delight. She plays beautiful music and gives it to them as a gift. You can see the passion and love with which she plays, and the care and attention with which she offers up the music. An eyebrow rises, she leans forward, nods her head, rapt in attention not to the piano, but to the music in the singer. It's as if she is evoking the music in the soloist by her own playing, as if she is drawing out beauty in another by giving it away, saying “Here is a gift. Add your own beauty to it and make it wonderful.” She is a master; yet if you weren't looking you wouldn't notice. Our attention is never on the accompanist, but secretly she makes the world beautiful.

It's what God does: she accompanies us. With wonder and delight she goes with us, creating the music of our lives, staying in time with every beat of our existence. She surrounds us with the music that gives meaning to what we do, and makes harmony possible. She loves us into our own beauty, and draws the best out of us, making it hard for us not to shine with light and grace.

And God invites us to accompany others. Love is not some sentimental feeling; it's giving our gifts for the sake of someone's beauty. Focusing not on ourselves but on them, we love and support them; we give the best of our skill and our passion; we offer the beauty that is in us for the sake of the beauty that is in them. We pass on the light, and it shines in them until the whole world shines. Secretly we make the world beautiful.

So we accompany one another in this life. And in our companionship, though you wouldn't notice if you weren't looking, there is God.                     Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve

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