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“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!
“I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.”
John 14:15-20 The Message
“The Piano Lady . . .”
by Rev. Rick Pittenger
School is out for the summer, young people have headed home for the summer break. Sidewalk chalk designs around Vermillion have started to appear. As we enjoyed Memorial Day with some friends, their neighbor kids had one of those huge plastic horns and they would blast us just as we were talking over our meal on the deck. Music and Art will keep the children entertained over the summer months.
A week ago, on Monday night at the Welcome Table I visited with Marie, “the Piano Lady,” as some of you may know her in our community. A former music teacher, now at 87 she still has a zest for life, and it’s music. Often she will make her way over to the piano in the corner of our fellowship hall. She’ll just sit down, no sheet music in front of her, and she’ll play the piano. Pieces from Chopin to pop, to blues; she plays. Sometimes she sings along or a group of us sing backup for her. During Christmas season she plays Christmas Carols to the amusement and delight of her listeners.
After her performance, I sat down with her as she slid her aging, bent-over frame away from the keyboard facing me. A chance interview with this grand lady found “the rest of the story.” I asked her if she ever taught music.
She began to share her story as a young college student: her Academic Advisor tried to dash her dreams by saying that her idea for a double major in both music and art couldn’t be done because neither was “cerebral” enough. In other words there was not enough “thought, or measurable knowledge” to “MAJOR” in that. Well, Marie held her ground… granted, it was over 50 years ago and we’ve come a long ways. But following college she decided to try life in the real world, got an “office job,” hated it, and then realized schools would pay her to “have fun” and be true to herself at the same time; a win win.
Later, she shared a curious commentary on children and musical instruments in general. There is a curiosity in instruments; especially the piano. Often you’ll see children drawn to the piano in homes as well as in churches. They’ll rush to the piano with excitement and start to “play” a song. Some parents rush to hush their children from making “noise.” Marie says that you’re taking their “spirit” away if you do that and their creativity is silenced.
So we come to this week’s passage in John’s Gospel, Chapter 14. Jesus tells his closest friends, the disciples that, “If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!”
Thanks to the Piano Lady aka Marie, we know what to look for and what to listen to when persons are surrounded by the holy spirit and share their love for God through music.
May it always be so...
PS Ironically, this past week our organist/pianist at the church; Chris had surgery to remove a tumor on his left wrist. The surgery was quite successful and he’ll be able to join us for worship again this coming weekend. Thank you for your prayers!