I began playing the guitar when I was 28 years old. That was now half a lifetime ago.
This is hard to believe on so many levels, and in so many ways. I cannot remember not playing, and yet I spent as much of my life apart from the instrument as I have with it. I never dreamed when learning to play that the guitar would become an object so precious that it would be the first non-human (or canine) thing I would seek to save if our house caught fire. Nor did I imagine songwriting, a blessing that landed on me so seemingly out of the blue that I remember the night of the first song I ever wrote (27 years ago) as if it were yesterday. Without the guitar, that would not have happened.
Most of all, I had no way of knowing how “instrumental” the guitar would become in our ministry. I was unaware that a day would come in our lives when Frances and I would sing together in 300 services a year. And, speaking of that, I never imagined that Frances and I would sing together! I knew, of course, that she is a stunningly sublime harmony singer. Those of you who have heard her sing on our CDs and website, or in person, know that Frances’s voice is literally ethereal (how does she do that??). Myself, I am, at best, a stunningly ordinary singer. Our voices together, however, unite to enable us to do some things that we hope minister the Spirit of Christ in a way that reveals Him musically. Honestly, when traveling to a meeting where we will sing, I literally wonder if I am in a weird but wonderful dream from which I will soon awaken (hope not!).
It also thrills me that all three of our children own guitars. Marie has played for years, and does so amazingly well (you’ll hear some of her musical prowess on our next CD). Our son Noah began playing last year, at the familiar age of 28 years old (no intentional following of Dad there. It just “happened”). He’s already playing well, and just bought a new guitar that will take him much further down the musical road. And Emmie, our youngest, has yet to find time to learn and play her instrument. But she will, and who knows, she may surpass us all (don’t tell Marie and Noah I wrote that! J).
I share this with you because… well, I’m not quite sure I know why I share this with you! But yes, actually, I do. The realization I mentioned at the beginning of this essay overwhelms me with gratitude to the One who created music because He is Himself a musical Being. The Bible teaches that one day God will sing to the redeemed. It also commands the redeemed to sing to God (Zephaniah 3:17; Psalm 30:4). We can do so in our hearts, in our voices, or in both. A particularly unexpected privilege of this came to me a half lifetime ago. So, I write to simply say “Thank You” to the MusicMaker who, in some way for us all, infuses His melody into our hearts when the Spirit of His Son enters therein…
“He hath put a new song in our mouth, even praise unto our God.”