By Robert Thompson of Ilkley, Queensland, Australia
O sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples. —Psalm 96:1–3 NRSV
The business meeting had set the direction; the discussions were over. Ads were placed on community notice boards down at the local Woollies (store) advertising a free piano to anyone who would just take it away. But alas, after several months, there were no takers for the sad, old piano at church. After much procrastination and promises to have it gone, the day finally arrived. We would remove the old, iron-framed relic that could have once entertained the animals on the ark! It was now time to say farewell—ashes to ashes, dust to dust—as we took it to its final resting place at the dump.
It seemed a good idea to move it on a Tuesday when there were a few people at the church who could help load it. Before I strapped it in for its last journey, one of the workers hopped on the trailer to play one last tune. It was comical to see old Jack struggling to play “The Carnival Is Over” with a motley crowd of well-wishers adding their voices. Their not-so-melodious efforts strangely meshed with the old honkey-tonk sound of a piano that had seen better days.
At that moment, a young woman came up and asked what I was doing with the piano. I told her the next stop for the old relic was the local dump. She was horrified at my response. “I’ll take it,” she replied. “I’ve been looking for a piano—my doctor said I should get one for my daughter, but we can’t afford one.” As storm clouds gathered, I saw reasons this was not a good idea.
I told her that everything was organized to take this relic to the dump. Moving it to her house and unloading it would be too difficult for one person. It was heavy; it was going to rain any minute. I had every reason to deny her request. At this point God interrupted me, and I listened. This woman had a child with a learning disability, and if she had access to a musical instrument, preferably a piano, it could significantly affect her brain connectivity.
It was then that I let go and let God. “We will have to leave straight away and go directly to your house before the weather beats us,” I urged. The trailer barely fit in her garage, and she organized neighbors and friends to unload it the next day.
When I saw her next, she hugged me in tears. What a difference it made in their lives! She was so filled with gratitude and overwhelmed with joy the piano had found a new home and a new purpose. It astounded me, on reflection, that such a small action had such a momentous effect on someone’s life. When I thought the piano’s final song was “The Sounds of Silence,” God broke through with a new tune: “We’ve Only Just Begun.”
Prayer for Peace
Interrupt us any time, God. We know it must be important: a life to change, a burden to bear, a message to relay, or peace to share. We will listen.
Spiritual Practice: Music for Meditation
Identify a form of music for meditation. If hearing music is not an option, choose a song you can sing or play on a musical instrument. Choose music that carries a soulful, spiritual, or healing quality for you. Sit quietly and soak in the melody and resonance. Allow healing waves of sound to pierce body, spirit, and emotions. What do you feel or see as you listen? Does the music have colors? What spiritual message comes? How does the music restore, nurture, heal, or move you to compassionate response?
Today, God, or any time you want my attention, I will respond.