Thank goodness for music! Like me I am sure you are thankful that our theatres, our concert halls and The Proms festival concerts this year are to be fully opened up once again. Hooray!

My background is as a professional violinist, performing in most of the venues around. As a ‘rank and file’ violinist -not a very glamorous title! – I would take my place alongside 40 or so other violinists to bring to the audience performances they would hopefully take home with them in their hearts. Huge numbers would look for that sense of delight and that heart -stilling moment when listening to very stirring sounds.

On more than one occasion afterwards I would hear members of the audience talk to each other about how incredibly moved they felt. Those present to listen and watch in the wonderful Royal Albert Hall itself would equally include the invisible listeners tuning in to radio three.  Each one would engage with the performance and gain much, even if not physically there.

The orchestra would perform as one unity under the guidance of whoever the conductor would be at that time. Performing together for  a single piece of music, our hope would be that all who are witnessing that which is happening would be moved and inspired.

But however lofty my thoughts might be, my feet are firmly on the ground, especially whilst on stage performing. Many are the scrambles, even mid-performance. Many are the pitfalls, hopefully going unwitnessed by our audiences.  The hunt for the notes, the pages turn that cause the music to flutter to the floor. It happens!  But witness it is.

Our Lord Jesus looked upon all who were following Him with care and with love, no matter what was happening there and surrounding him. Especially for all who could not get too near to where He was. Jesus would walk about doing the will of his Father.

A favourite story is about Zebedee, his two sons, and their occupations. Jesus called his two sons- off they went, leaving their father all alone back in the house to tend to all the tasks of daily living -not easy in those days. Zebedee would have to catch all his food, cook it and then wash up afterwards. His two sons went off. They became Christian stars.  But Zebedee was also a Christian star.

The example from Zebedee shows us that his heart was certainly on fire. His two sons acted in faith and love. Even if not close by their father, they remained close in their hearts to the cause that they had been called to. Jesus had been within them all. They had gone, but only in a physical sense. Zebedee continued to hold his sons closely in his heart.

Families can move to a life a long way away from home. Long ties forged within hearts keeps them together.

It is the same hearts on fire that the example of Jesus leaves with us today. Even though we drift we can regularly ‘clock in’.

As a lay minister trying to serve God’s people in the world, orchestral performing is a real witness. Folks follow that which moves the heart and they follow that which they witness. Fellow players and colleagues become involved in prayer groups during rehearsal break times. Surprisingly common are the players who use their talents in praise to God.

So let us ask God what we might offer him each day. And we can ask him. He is very near to us, helping us give to him that which he might ask of us through our daily lives as his example here in the place where he has set us. Our hearts will be freshly inflamed and on fire when we do!

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