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  • Sarah Raad

Violinist

That violinist – like my Beloved – was hidden in plain view.

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler (Heinrich Hofmann)

I have been reflecting on a story that I recently heard about a social experiment that the Washington Post commissioned to be performed in a metro station in 2007 in Washington DC on a cold January morning.


On that morning, a violinist stood and played six pieces written by Bach over a period of 45 minutes. During that time about two thousand people walked through the station.


Of the two thousand possible spectators, only six people stopped to listen, and each of those only for a few short minutes. There were a few children who tugged on their mothers’ hands as they heard the violinist, but invariably their mothers did not stop walking to listen.


That morning, that violinist made $32 in total, which was thrown into his hat as he played.


And when he was finished, nobody noticed, there was no applause and there was only silence.


But – perhaps even more interestingly – there was no recognition at all…


You see, Bach’s music, which was being performed, is considered the most complex violin composition ever composed. And the violinist who had been performing that morning, was no other than Joshua Bell, who is generally considered to be one of the world’s greatest musicians. The violin that Bell played during that performance was worth $3.5 million...


And, two days prior to his performance in the metro station in Washington DC, Joshua Bell had performed a sold-out concert in Boston where his audience had paid no less than $100 each to sit and listen to his music.


And as I think about this story my mind turns to my Beloved…


You see, for me, Christ was in some ways like that violinist during that performance on that day…

For Christ – GOD MADE MAN – walked on the Earth and just like that violinist that day, He was complete overlooked!

When Christ spoke, His Holy Voice and His Holy Words were surely the most beautiful and most wonderful ever uttered in all the history of the world. And yet, most people listened briefly – as they did in the metro station to music and talent of such magnificent complexity – and then turned away, ignorant of the gift that they could have received.


When Christ travelled from one place to another, though some followed Him – most people let Him go. Most people – like me – had no idea that the LIGHT OF THE WORLD had passed them by. Most people – like me – had no idea that the MOST BEAUTIFUL AND PERFECT CREATURE (who by the mystery of the Holy Trinity was the CREATOR) had passed them by. Most people – like me – had no idea that PERFECT LOVE AND MERCY (their very SAVIOUR) had passed them by.


So, most people – like me – LET HIM GO…


In fact, several times in the Gospels we are told stories of people who asked Christ what they could do to achieve salvation and yet were unwilling to follow when He told them to…


“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, then go and sell all that you own. Give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven. Then come and follow me!’ But when the young man heard Jesus tell him to give away his money, he was sad. He didn’t want to do this, because he was very rich. So he left.” (Matthew 19:21-22).


And now, it occurs to me today to be reminded of that call of Christ through the actions of that violinist…


You see that violinist – like my Beloved – was hidden in plain view.


And knowing this I can understand that with a small bit of inconvenience I can merit the rewards of eternal life in much the same way that those passers-by could have merited such a wonderous display of talent with just a little of their time.


So, now it occurs to me to pray for wisdom…


For with wisdom and Grace, maybe I could be the one who can hear such extraordinary beauty wherever it may be – even in a metro station, where nobody else stands still…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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