By Andy Lund
A parable based on I Corinthians 13, in which the songwriter restores a battered and disused piano.
The song was finished. After years of labour the songwriter had not only finished his great work but it was perfect.
A perfect song. Nothing needed to be added, every note was exactly in the right place, every harmony was scored just right, every rest and the key was the only key it could possibly be in.
The songwriter sat back, closed his eyes and tried to imagine the great work being performed-the choir, the grand concert hall and oh, yes, the piano. Only at the touch of that piano would the song fully come to life. And that's where the problem really lay, for this was the piano. A more battered and sorry sight you could scarcely hope to set eyes on. It had lain disused for such a long time .Never really been played properly. No doubt it was capable of a tune- after all, that's what it had been designed for. But just look at it! The keys were yellowing and the varnish peeling, the pedals, which could have shone like gold in any concert hall, were stained and tarnished. As for the strings - well they just hung out, grown slack through lack of use. Strings that should have been taut, ready and willing to be struck by felt-clad hammers at the light touch of an expert pianist's fingers were dangling down to the ground , useless. In fact there was not a part of the piano from the candlesticks to the music rest, that was in proper order.
As if that wasn't bad enough, the various parts of the piano had been instrumental in their own downfall. You see, the strings had not been too happy about being struck by the hammers all day long, and the hammers had complained that the strings were cutting their felt. The soft pedal had always wanted to be the loud pedal and so had refused to work properly and had got stuck in the up position.
And the notes--the notes had really fallen out. Middle C was fed up, of being stuck in the middle, it was boring, so predictable and what's more everyone used you. The bass notes felt they were called to a higher position in life and the top notes longed for the depth and resonance that others had. Worst of all, there had been a violent argument between the blacks and whites which had left them all in a sorry state. The whole piano , if the truth is to be told, was fit for very little other than being thrown out.
But the songwriter had a song. A very good song.. A perfect one - but no piano to play it. He was, though, not someone who gave up easily.. After all the effort he had put into the song, he was not going to give up now. It would take a lot, a restorer, a tuner, a lot of sweat and toil but it could be done.
The restorer started first. With skill and dedication he removed all the old varnish and brought back the wood to the condition it was meant to be. He repolished all the metal parts till they gleamed and slowly the piano regained its self respect,.
Then the tuner reset the strings , restoring their tension and tuning them to concert pitch.
Gradually the piano began to take on a new appearance and to look like the instrument it was designed to be.
And now the songwriter was satisfied . The restorer could admire his work . The tuner could hear something pleasing to his ears.
The piano stood ready for the piano player. The song could be played.
As his fingers touched the keys, the notes found themselves in harmony, no longer wishing to quarrel because the piano player was using the piano to fill the concert hall with his perfect song.
"Happy laughter a smiling child We are heirs of glory, the cup is filled
With words of wonder a shining face as the flowers blossom we grow in grace.
Eyes that are held on you, hands that reach out for you Ears that do hear when you call
Oh we are tuned to your perfect key , you name the harmony , the world is our grand concert hall.
The song is happy the words all rhyme Though our notes do differ we keep the time The new song's writer conducts the choir
As our eyes keep on him he leads us higher Eyes that are held on you hands that reach out for you Ears that do hear when you call
Oh, we are tuned to your perfect key as you name the harmony the world is our grand concert hall"
(Words of song by Keith Loring)
© Andy Lund
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