From The Rectory
A mother took her nine-year-old son to a concert of the well-known pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski’s, hoping to inspire him to continue with his music lessons.
Shortly before the concert was to begin, she had a moment of panic as she realised her son was no-longer sitting next to her! Where could he have gone?
Her question was soon answered as she noticed a small figure, making his way across the stage, towards the huge Steinway piano. He then sat down and started to calmly play ‘Chopsticks’.
Some of the audience shouted at the boy to get off the stage, and the ushers started moving in to remove him.
But then another figure appeared on the stage, Paderewski himself! He silenced the crowd, stopped the ushers and then tiptoed up behind the boy and whispered in the child’s ear, “Don’t give up. Keep on playing. You’re doing great!” As the boy continued, Paderewski put his arms around him and began to play a concerto based on the tune of ‘Chopsticks’.
This month we celebrate the festival of Pentecost, when God sent His Holy Spirit to the disciples. On the day of that first Pentecost we witness an amazing transformation in the disciples. Peter the hot headed fisherman from Galilee is suddenly transformed into a confident and eloquent preacher. The rest of the disciples are suddenly fluent in all manner of foreign languages, enabling them to share the good news of Jesus to the Jews who had travelled to Jerusalem from nations far and wide to celebrate the festival of the first fruits.
In many ways, the disciples were like that small boy at the concert. Jesus had taught them, but now they found themselves thrust centre stage.
Just as the boy was heckled from the audience, the disciples were accused of being drunk! I am always amused by Peter’s response to this accusation which was basically, “it’s a little too early for us to be drunk!”
Then God wrap’s his arms round Peter and through the power of the Holy Spirit enables him to preach one of the greatest sermons ever given and so the early church began! Peter was not theologically trained; neither was he an experienced public speaker. By trade he was a fisherman, and yet God was able to use him.
2000 years later, the good news of Jesus is still being shared and lived out by ordinary people. By God’s standards, our best efforts are like that little boy’s attempt at ‘Chopsticks’. We may even feel that we have nothing to offer, yet God can take hold of our efforts and turn them into something exquisite.
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