"Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world." -Martin Luther
We have two violinists in the family. Both are learning via the Suzuki method which has taught me many things about how people learn and ways to incorporate better discipline into my life skills.
A few years ago my oldest violinist participated in a week-long strings camp. Since it was a Suzuki camp, I attended with him. It was amazing and beautiful to hear music in every room and down every hall throughout the day.
In his private lesson during the camp, the instructor was encouraging him to work on his phrasing so that the music has a better shape and really comes to life. "You might think you are playing with emotion," he said, "but if you are not doing anything technically to make that happen then people won't hear it." So we continued the lesson working on dynamics, bow position, and vibrato. And the song began to sing.
People so often thing that music is all about talent and forget that there are details that need attention or the talent is not as apparent.
The same can be said for our souls. You may think that you are living a passionate life for God but if you aren't doing some thing technically to make it happen then you might not be bearing fruit.
"Technical and soul" aren't words that typically go together but there are things that one can do to lift up your soul. In the Wesleyan tradition these are known as the Means of Grace. Prayer, Bible study, worship, fasting, fellowship, healthy living, communion, baptism, doing good, visiting the sick, visiting those in prison, and giving are a few of the actions that one can take to attend to the soul.
Doing these things on their own do not make for any special magic, just like playing loudly or softly doesn't always make beautiful music. But these are ways to be open to the love of God and have made my soul sing.
And just as I tell my kids, practice makes perfect. Practicing the Means of Grace does not get you into heaven but it will make your soul sing now and help us all to view glimpses of the Kingdom of God.
Until Everyone Hears,