God has place this wonderful creation in our hands. As U2 sings, "It's a beautiful day, don't let it slip away." We have this one life to live on this beautiful planet so enjoy these reflections on God, faith, life, and music. "After the flood all of the colors came out. It's a beautiful day."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Dancing With Sinners

     It’s a Friday morning during rush hour at L’Enfant Plaza metro stop in Washington, DC when a street performer arrives.  He opens his case.  Puts in some seed money and begins playing his violin.  Of the 1097 people who heard him play how many do you think stopped and listened or paused and donated money?  100, 200, 300?
     The Washington Post wanted to conduct and experiment and see if beauty could break through at an inconvenient time in an inconvenient place.  So they asked one of the premier violinists, Joshua Bell if he would help them with the experiment.  He would play for 45 minutes some of the most beautiful music created for the violin in the middle of rush hour. 
     At three minute you see the first reaction, a middle-age man pauses notices the music and continues on.  At four minutes, Bell gets his first donation, but she too continues on to the train.   It never gets much better.  Bell receives a $32 from 27 people, and 7 people stopped to listen. 1070 did not respond to the music.  The demographic of who responded or didn’t was noticeable different except for one group.                                                                                                       
      A couple minutes into his performance a mother is trying to rush her child to the train and off to daycare.  The little boy can be seen trying to get her to stop.  He is craning his neck trying to hear the music and see who is playing.  Every single time a child heard the music they wanted to stop and watch.  Every single time their adults would keep them moving. 
Let anyone with ears listen! "But to what will I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to one another, "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.'For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, "He has a demon';the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, "Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds."

We played the flute and you did not dance.  What made the children want to dance?  As you watch the video of Bell playing, speed it up to fast motion you can see people scurrying to get to where they need to go while his violin seems to calming play on.  There is calm and beauty in the midst of this activity but very few heard. 
      In the scripture, from Matthew, Jesus asks what is it, we want.  When John came and practiced an ascetic life, calling people to go into the desert, to repent and be baptized, you complained he was to pure. 
      I, Jesus, came calling you to turn back to God for the Kingdom is drawing near.  I called you where you were and saw who you were.I came to meet you at dinner and on the street.  We ate and laughed together and still it wasn’t enough.  I danced and you would not dance with me. 
     Jesus didn’t play it safe.  He broke the rules to reach you with God’s love.  He ate with people who were rejected, tax collectors, sinner, poor fisherman.  He drank water with loose women.  He worked on the Sabbath, picking grain to feed his traveling band, healing a withered hand.  Because he saw what was needed. 
     He did a lot of risky things.  He touched people who were sick and made them well, he healed lepers, when to the bedside of the ill, and touched dead people.  He met people and their needs where they were and he spoke to them of a God who wants you to come back, to be healed and blessed. 
     The people didn’t like this.  They wanted a prophet, a messiah who would run the Romans ought with military might.  They wanted a prophet who condemned the things they condemned and then left them to their own devices.  The people wanted Jesus to Dance when they danced, and to wail when they wailed. 
     But it doesn’t work like that.  Jesus was hearing the drum beat of God and was trying to dance and sing that message with us.  He wanted us to join in the song and hear the good news that God loves us and wants us in return to love.   He wants to east with the tax collectors and sinners.  He wants the world too look at us and say foolishness, while we continue loving a hurting world.

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