It’s been with me since I was five, the antique upright piano. Its finish is deep ebony, the surface crackled with age, the keys chipped here and there like a well-worn smile. And when I can’t find the words, I go there and let the contents of my heart flow out in the pure form of music instead.
So I’ve been there a lot lately, sitting on the bench with its worn white and green brocade.
What I can’t find words for flows through my fingers on these different, more familiar keys. After all, I learned to play them before I learned to type, before I really even learned to write. It’s like slipping into a first language– the one you rarely get to use but often find yourself dreaming in. I play the old favorites I learned as a child; Beethoven, Haydn, Chopin, Brahms. I play new ones, hymns and worship songs and pieces I’ve picked up because I’ve always loved them. And I play what comes to mind and then through my hands, sometimes in such quick succession that I’m not sure where the music comes from at all…it moves through me and surprises me and makes me laugh, and makes me cry.
Sometimes when no one is watching, I lean against the piano as I play, my cheek against the smooth black surface. I feel the music, the vibration of many strings against brass soundboard, resonating through old wood and flesh and bone. I feel the hum in my bones and soul and wonder: Is this how the Universe vibrates, with the echoes of the Creator’s voice….“Let There Be Light”…. humming through an infinity of tiny strings strung between all of creation that glows and breathes and sings?
Perhaps true worship is simply playing in tune with Him. A Rhapsody on a Theme by El Shaddai, sung by a choir not bound by time or space or the limitations of flesh. Do you know these moments? When what began as poetry or paint or the pressing of black and white keys, the draw of a horse-hair bow across silver strings…becomes transfigured? When light falls in and through and lifts art from human hands to God inspired, when every note or word or brushstroke is praise and you know, you know that there is more to it than ink or paint or notes splashed across five thin lines. And as the last note sustains and washes over you, you just want to stand there and raise your hands and whisper his name….Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
In Heaven, friend, that’s how it’s going to be. Every day, every word, every breath.
Why we humans create, why there is art and music and poetry must be this: Our hearts were created after His own image, they long to hear the symphony and strive for those moments in which they resonate in perfect pitch with the Creator, in which they catch a glimpse, as in a mirror dimly, of the glory that is to come. And in that moment the soul understands that it cannot understand, only give in entirely to that which is incomprehensibly greater and more beautiful than we can imagine.