Thoughts from a Musicians Heart
GEORGE HERBERT, CHARLIE, AND THE CROSS by Barbara Kavanaugh
The poetry of George Herbert (1593-1633) strikes a chord with my heart. My thoughts have been mulling over a portion of his poem "Easter" since reading it a few months ago. Herbert refers to Easter as “this most high day”. Christmas, as well, is a most high day and the Overture to Easter.
Charlie is my cello. A personal miracle for me is that the family of an elderly, dying woman wished to give her cello, residing in the attic, to a promising young cello student. My cello teacher heard of this, and thus since I was eleven years old, Charlie has been my companion. Any later in my life, and he would probably have had a more dignified name than Charlie Cello.
I’ll share some mulling thoughts from my musician’s heart. From pre-history, people have sensed a connection of all that is created: the planets, earth, seas, mountains, deserts, flora, fauna, all of humanity, and so forth. Our Judeo-Christian beliefs are no exception. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.” (Genesis 1:31-2:1) God, the Master Orchestrator, has connected all energy and matter into his perfect plan for Eternity.
In the words of J.S. Bach, “All music should have no other end and aim than the glory of God and the soul’s refreshment”. As any other Christian musician, I strive toward this end. Bach’s idea is in the Spiritual realm and could be considered abstract to the physical realm. Herbert gives me a clue to moving into the physical realm. How is Charlie connected to the Cross?
“Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The cross taught all wood to resound his name,
Who bore the same.
He stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.
Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or, since all music is but three parts vied
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.”
from Easter by George Herbert
How is Charlie connected to the Cross?
Trees brimming with life!
“The mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55:12)
Wood from trees in Eden, wood touched and worked by Joseph and young Jesus, Wood roughly nailed to make the Cross, wood hewn and crafted to make my companion.
I pray that the wood in my cello and bow “Resound His Name”.
I pray that as I play Charlie, I will know a deeper connection between the sounds coming forth and the Sacrificial, Powerful Love of Jesus Christ. I pray that His Love will connect in a deeper way between my heart and God and between my heart and anyone hearing the music.
I pray that “the blessed Spirit bear a part, and make up our defects with his sweet art.”