Billy Joel’s Piano Man: A Parable of Ministry.
Posted by justifiedandsinner
Devotional Thought of the Day:
25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. 28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.
Colossians 1:25-29 (NLT)
4 Christ, who went up to the Cross with his arms wide open, with the gesture of the Eternal Priest, wants to count on us—who are nothing!—to bring to all men the fruits of his Redemption.
It always has been my favorite piece of music, more than any classical piece, more than any hymn or praise song. It describes the joy of musician doing what he does best, in the words of the manager, “he knows that it’s me that they are coming to see, to forget about life for a while…” ( I would make the point that it does not forget about life, but finding it, that makes the piano man’s music draw them)
It starts with an old man’s request, “son, can you play me a melody, I’m not really sure how it goes, but it’s sad, and its sweet, and I knew it complete, when I wore a younger man’s clothes.”
I think much of what we do as pastors, as preachers, our ministry to those already in the church is that very thing – bringing back into people lives the melody of the gospel, something they knew well, but that life drowns out. For the people who sit in our churches need to hear that gospel just as much as the person in the bar listening to a man play piano.
Of course, this preaching and teaching goes beyond our church doors, as St Josemaria tells us, we need to bring this message of the fruit of redemption to every man and woman. The one in church, the crowd around the bar, the one in the hospital or jail, the one in boot camp, or in a refugee camp, or even in the terrorist camp; they all need to hear of this hope, the hope of glory found in realizing Christ lives with us, in us.
It is this message that makes the difference; it is the message that brings to them life, that will present them perfect to God.
So why do we mess around with other messages? Why do we throw them back to the world without the hope found when we realize the life we have Christ? Why do we put our hope, not in Christ but in the latest theories about how churches can be successful? Or in the latest thing that gives our people a sense of peace financially, or as a family, or who to back in a political election, as if they will make the changes that will make life alive. Those theories are nice, and have their place, but they will be found to be empty in a year or two, or at least within a decade or generation.
There is only one melody, one message that will bring the comfort and peace….to the bartender, to the sailor, to the waitress practicing politics, to the business trying to get stoned…
The message of Christ,
May we struggle as Paul did, to teach and preach this Christ, working with all that we have, depending upon Christ whose power works within us. AMEN.
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 246-248). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.