This past week has been special for two music concerts. First, I shared in a Keith and Kristyn Getty concert in Elmhurst. They have given us some great hymns such as "In Christ alone", but have also made pertinent comments like: "It seems to me that if a church splits over music, that music has become more important than togetherness in itself. Music is merely a servant to the body of believers." The concert was lively with some new songs and settings. Towards the end, the whole congregation (I guess 600 or so) joined in full-hearted singing of a sequence of four recent Easter hymns - wow, I hoped that God received our praise. Wonderful!
I had taken a signed copy of my book (Preaching as Worship) in which Keith and Kristyn are quoted several times. At the end of the concert he was so surrounded that I handed my book to one of his entourage to pass on. Imagine my surprise when he shouted out "Hold that Englishman!" Making his way to me he greeted me warmly, remembering how he met me in 2005 when I gave him a copy of 360degree preaching. I couldn't believe it, and felt really humbled!
On Saturday I went to the Wheaton College Artist Series to hear the brilliant young cellist Joshua Roman. Still in his twenties, he has gained a phenomenal reputation. In his pre-concert talk he winsomely shared about the classical program ahead and also his own story. Later, he dazzled us by his virtuosity (he really did)! It was another humbling experience - listening to a musician whose gifting and personality was so readily shared. Asked how many hours he practices he said that in high school it was 5-6 hours a day, at college 7-8 hours a day and currently he likes a good 5 hours practice daily!
I know musical preferences are very personal but I felt immensely enriched by these contrasting occasions. And I guess it was the personal sharing of the musicians themselves that so greatly added to the experiences. It was Music PLUS! Whenever there is personal sharing it enriches, doesn't it?