Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 5:19
“Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words.”
- St. Francis of Assisi
What do these quotes have to do with the photo?
When we arrived in Tennessee for a Christmas vacation, we were asked, upon arrival, if we were too tired to go to an impromptu concert after about eight straight hours of driving. Our twelve-year-old grandson was having his first public concert, his debut, doing a duet with his teacher in the court square in Collierville, TN. Our grandson has only been having lessons for a few months, practicing on a chanter until he got his new bagpipes. Others were amazed and a bit jealous of his meteoric rise in skill over the past few months, especially with the restrictions. At his debut, he and his teacher played a medley of Christmas Songs and then our grandson got to pick a song of his own, Marie’s Wedding. I cannot figure out the technical issues with my recording, maybe too tired to do it right, but here is a Scottish pipe band doing Marie’s Wedding. I think that our grandson did just as good – not prejudiced at all – of course, without the drums.
It all has to do with practice. Our grandson is a lot like his father; he never has to be told to practice music. Maybe practice one instrument over another. Maybe, he is occasionally told to quit practicing and do his chores or homework. Now that “practice” of homework seems harder to do, but the reward for doing well in school was the gift of new bagpipes – not in the photo as this was before Christmas.
Our son went from picking up anything that made sound and turning it into a musical instrument. He went to a career in music, presently an elementary school music teacher.
It seems that his eldest son is following in his father’s footsteps. You can see it in the practice and the lack of having to remind him to practice. His teacher has a meme on the Collierville Bagpipe Band Facebook page, where you can hear and see our grandson playing. The meme says that you do not practice until you get it right; you keep practicing until you do not ever get it wrong.
As for the Scripture, I searched BibleGateway for the word “practice” in the NIV. The word appears 98 times and the first ten references all have to do with evil practices, practices of sorcery or divination, and warnings to simply not follow such practices that are practiced by pagans.
That makes me think about doctors who practice medicine. Can we draw a parallel with these first usages of “practice” in the Bible? Maybe I should not follow that line of argument. I might need one of those doctors to “practice” on me some day.
But do I really have to draw the lines to connect the dots here? My son and his son practice what they love. It is often more important to practice music than it is to eat or to sleep, almost more important than breathing.
We “say” that we have made a total commitment to Jesus Christ, yet do we “practice” enough to get it right? Do we go beyond that and practice until we no longer get it wrong? I am carefully avoiding the definition of “it,” as there are many of them in following Jesus.
Is it more important to follow Jesus than it is to eat? To sleep? To breathe?
We may have more work to do, each of us. And we are talking about “practice.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.