Three year old Michael was running across the church playground when he slipped and fell. His ear-piercing scream brought 14-year old Megan running to his aid. Her calm loving spirit soon had Michael smiling again. Of course the show and tell bandaid she put on his knee seemed to have helped broaden his smile.
When one of the parents noticed her two year old daughter spilt orange juice on her new dress, and her four year old son was a mess after having run through a mud puddle, Megan could tell she was very discouraged, especially when she said her kids obviously weren’t that bright. Megan was smiling when she told the woman her children weren’t fireflies or lightening bus as some call them, assuring the woman her children were very bright – spilling juice on a new dress and running through a mud puddle was quite normal. Was it any wonder all the parents felt blessed to have a 14-year old like Megan working in the church nursery. Perhaps it was because of students like Megan, the evening service dedicated and conducted by the youth of the church, was full.
When it became Megan’s turn to speak she mentioned Michael and how it was the seventh time he had fallen in the past month alone. Megan said it made her think of Proverbs 24:16. The righteous shall fall seven times and then rise again, seven being the number used for infinity in the Bible. Everyone laughed when Megan said she was certain there were days when parents didn’t feel their children were righteous. The laughter continued when she said there were also days she wished parents would wrap their children in bubble wrap before they dropped them off at the nursery. As soon as the laughter quieted down, Megan’s talk was so profound for a 14-year old that everyone that was there that evening were still talking about it weeks later, and some even took her words to heart.
Megan said it seemed this generation of parents and youth were more interested in sports, mindless tv shows, pop music and text messaging than the arts. Perhaps it was being home schooled that allowed her the luxury of pursuing areas of study that truly interested her in addition to her required studies. Her love of painting and works of art as well as the musical compositions by the masters of these arts added a sense of richness to her life which enabled her to be conversant with adults as well as peers in areas most teens weren’t interested in.
She had become an admirer of Beethoven and Mozart which led her to an amazing discovery. The composer they admired was Johan Sebastian Bach. It was while studying Bach that she came to realize the huge gap between great musical compositions and so much of what is called Christian music today. Instead of the church rising above the secular world, it has stooped down to its level of mediocrity. When a media corporation hired world acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell to stand outside the Washington, D.C. metro station and play Bach’s music on his three and a half million dollar violin, hardly anyone stopped to listen, proving the inability of people to recognize true genius and works of art even though concert goers had recently paid $100 a ticket to hear him perform.
Megan said she was so surprised to find Bach’s music is becoming very popular in Japan and Taiwan providing an interest in Christianity. Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion premiered in Taiwan in June of 2012 under the baton of German conductor Halmoth Riling with the Taipei Philharmonic Chorus and children’s chorus. It is estimated there are currently between 100 and 200 Bach choirs in Japan. One choir’s performance of St. Matthew’s Passion is sold out every Easter with the ticket prices in the hundreds of dollars where concert goers not familiar with the gospel are totally focused on the Biblical text.
Within weeks of the publishing of a 150th commemorative of Bach’s works by a Japanese company the 1st addition of 5,000 works was sold out at a cost of $3,000 each. 60% of Japanese say they live in fear every day but Bach enthusiasts in Japan say Bach’s music gives them hope. Is it any wonder a leader in the National Christian Council of Japan has called Bach a vehicle of the Holy Spirit.
Megan said C.S. Lewis once said that the world does not need more Christian writers, it needs more good writers and composers who are Christians and write for His honor and glory and as Megan added not for fame and fortune. Bach wasn’t attracted to fame and fortune. He once said music’s only purpose should be the glory of God and the recreation of the human spirit. Bach was a humble man who avoided the limelight, yet 250 years later his music is penetrating hearts in a country where over the centuries Christian missionaries have had limited success. Megan concluded by saying through her love for the arts and the works of the masters she has come closer to Thee Master of her life from whom all good things come – Jesus Christ.
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