Saturday, July 28, 2012
Humming Over the Piano Strings
Walk up to the piano. Open the top and expose the strings. Lean over the strings and hum a note, any note. Watch as the corresponding piano string will begin to vibrate. That's right, hum a "C" note and run your fingers along each string until you come to the one that is vibrating. Guess which one is vibrating? The "C" note you are singing. OK, so maybe Disneyland, heck the local park, would be more exciting than doing this, but it is a neat little trick for a lazy Saturday.
It also exposes the way Satan works his neat little tricks.
Uh oh, I said the Satan word.
Insert picture of little girl spitting split pea soup here--------->
(Oops, looks like I just got pea soup there, my bad.)
I listened to a Pastor recently who used a piano metaphor to explain how Satan works. First, this esteemed Pastor had to overcome the mental hurdle he felt many of his audience members and listeners (including me) had about the words "Satan" and "The Devil" --- that maybe, just maybe, Satan, devils, demons, etc., are NOT real -they're just a bunch of Hollywood horror characters or figments of religious superstition or hyperboles of hysterical silliness. Pitchfork. Horns. Red Cape. Put those aside. That is movie nonsense.
First, he said, Read Ephesians 6. "We wrestle against powers, principalities, rulers that are not of this world..."
Second, he argued, if you believe in God and he can't be seen, is it really that silly or that much more "superstitious" to believe in his polar opposite - Satan?
Anyway...I believe. However, I am not one of those crazy folks who is always chocking everything up to the devil or looking over my shoulder every few minutes to see if a demon is following. You will not hear me say "The devil made me do it." (I can sin all on my own, thank you.)
Finally, after he had sufficiently helped his audience over many of their mental hurdles, he used a vivid piano metaphor to explain how Satan, the Liar of Liars, works to deceive, to trick, to tempt, to ruin. Here is my paraphrase of what he said...
Satan leans over my piano strings and hums.
My heart is like an open piano with the strings exposed. Satan didn't create the strings. They are already there. Every human has them. They are a part of our human nature. Common strings include: (My list, not the Pastor's)
Middle C = Pride (Original Sin!)
D = Deceitfulness / Discouragement / Depression
E = Excuses / Enemies / Ego
F = Faithlessness / Fear / Failures /Failing to forgive
G = Glamour / Glory / Greed / Get while the gettin's good
A = Anger / Addiction / Allure / Activity / Aspiration
B = Blame, BE-ing focused on ME (Selfishness)
Whatever note he happens to hum, the corresponding string in my heart vibrates. Here is how it sounds in my heart when these strings are vibrating...
Look at him! I would never do that! I don't need God! I am great just how I am! (Hum Middle C)
God could never forgive me. I can't forgive myself. I am worthless. A failure. (Hum D)
Even though this might be "wrong" I deserve this! A little bit won't hurt, just once... (Hum E)
I've really messed up my life. God doesn't love me. I'll never forgive you! (Hum F)
I'm not really stingy, I'm just thrifty! I earned this - it's all mine! (Hum G)
I have a right to be angry. I want more. I need more...I'm too busy. I must be beautiful! (Hum A)
Me, Me, Me, Me, Me - What I want matters most, Yes, it really is all about me! It's your fault, not mine! (Hum B and slide to Middle C)
My Mom taught me piano when I was very young. The first song I ever learned to play went like this:
Middle C, Middle C
Right Hand, Left Hand
Basically, you just play middle C over and over with different hands. It's a real monotonous sort of beginner's sonata meant to build your confidence and dexterity. Sad to say, I never really got too far past that level of playing because I discovered the guitar. (Sorry Mom.) Anyway, Satan knows I have this string and am able to play it with both hands, so he often leans in and hums Middle C to help me get started. This really reaks havoc with my spiritual life because as soon as it starts to vibrate, it just resonates with me and I take off plinking and pounding my way through my usual one note song of ME, ME, ME. ME, ME, ME, Right Hand, Left Hand, ME, ME, ME.
I don't have a small kiddie piano. I have a room-filling, concert hall grand piano kind of heart. Not even a baby grand here. Elton John would disappear behind my piano. Billy Joel would have to beat it into submission.
So what can I do?
1) I can be aware of my strings.
My vices. My temptations. My nature. My shortcomings. Not so I can wallow in how bad I am (that would be another string called self-pity), but so I am AWARE.
2) I can stop the humming.
While I can't stop the one who hums, I know Someone who can. When the humming begins and I can turn my heart over to God. He can take my pathetic one note sonata and turn it into a Chopin masterpiece. If I let Him play.
Reminds of the story in Genesis 41 when Pharaoh (Eygptian King) asks Joseph to interpret his dreams. He had heard that Joseph had this amazing ability. "Tell me what they mean!" Pharaoh demands after a night full of bizarre dreams. Joseph replies, "I can't, but God can." God had the power. He would use Joseph. Joseph, a humble servant of God, knew this.
In the same way, I can't stop the humming, but God can. "Greater is the MASTER MUSICIAN (Jesus) that is in me, than the HUMMER (Satan) who is in the world." (Super duper paraphrased version of 1 John 4:4.)
So God, please stop the Hummer before he reaches my piano. And if he does reach my piano and begins to hum a note, please slam your hand down on the string to stop the vibration. Then sit down and make music out of my heart instead -- play it the the way it was intended - compose a fresh, beautiful song of love for You and others.
Hope Horner, 2012
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