In 2007 Joshua Bell one of the world’s most renowned violinists was in Washington for a concert tour. And while he was there the Washington Post commissioned him to pay his 4 million dollar Stradivarius in one of the subway stations.
The morning after the concert almost 2000 walked by his concert in the subway without stopping to listen or even notice him and he got $37.19 in tips.
In case you don’t know this man is considered by many to be the world’s greatest violinist. He is the Tom Brady of classical music
I mention this story because our lives are filled with sounds and words.
But many times it’s hard to notice what is of value and what is not.
It’s hard to discern what we should really listen to and what we should tune out.
Because of all the noise and words in our world,
Parents have a lot more challenges than my parents did.
When those of us who are a little older grew up our parents were still the main voice in our lives.
Now parents have to compete with the likes of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift and Kanye West.
When my Dad wanted our attention he turned off the TV or pulled the plug on the radio and he had us
Today all of these voices speak to our children not only on the radio or TV but on twitter on facebook on reddit, on snap chat, on their phones in their email.
Sometimes when I look in my inbox and there are 200+ emails and I feel like i’m drowning in communication and noise
And sometimes there are so many emails that important messages just get buried in the avalanche of emails.
In today’s Gospel Jesus healed a man who couldn’t hear.
The scholars tell us that this miracle is both real and symbolic.
It was real because yes there was a real man whose hearing was restored
It was symbolic because by giving the man back his hearing Jesus also connected him with the world in a new and more intimate way.
If God gives us our senses, hearing, sight, touch to connect with each other then we should use these gifts for what is good and holy.
Just like many people walked by Joshua Bell in the metro or Subway station so much of the world simple fails to notice or hear God’s word.
Quite often it just gets drowned out by all the other voices and noise competing for our attention.
So many people even life long believers fail to give God’s word its proper place in our lives.
We simply walk through life not knowing what we are missing or even really paying attention. Like the people that morning simply walked by Joshua Bell.
The Gospel today calls us to reflect on our relationship with God’s Word
It calls us to ask ourselves whose word do we allow to shape our thoughts and our opinions.
Whose word do we place our hope on ?
Whose word directs our life and informs our actions ?
These are very important questions indeed.
The day that Joshua Bell played in the subway.
I was sitting at the supper table in the Priest residence on campus and one of the priests who loves classical music had been to a Joshua Bell concert the previous night at the Kennedy Center.
He told us at the table “I will never be able to listen to a violin in the same way again. From now on every time I hear a violin I will compare it to that concert last night.” It was beautiful somehow he could make that violin sing.
Good friends once we really hear God’s word
Our lives and the lives of those we love will never be the same.
The way we look at the world will never be the same
Everything will be seen in the Light of the loving Word of God which each of us is called to hear and to follow.
Let us pray.
Lord help us to notice and listen to your Word
May it shape the way we think
may it inspire our hope and may it move us to love without counting the cost.