Normally I don’t ask you to watch a video before I get to the the Spiritual Application of my blog posts. I would suggest watching this one. I’m a violinist, so I found it fascinating.
If you can’t watch it, I will summarize it for you. It is on the history of violins and it’s only about 5 minutes long. It goes to Italy, the birthplace of the instrument and introduces viewers to a luthier* who talks us through the beginning stages of making a violin.
“I’m not making violins; I’m making sound,” the luthier states in the video. Puzzling. How can you make something that can’t be touched or seen?
For the violin, the sound is the goal and the violin is merely a tool, a vessel. And what a delicate vessel. Even the oil in our hands can affect the varnish and henceforth, the sound of the instrument.
Despite this delicacy, that doesn’t mean that the violins should be shut away in glass cases in the Smithsonian forever. Instead of a dull and flat tone, a violin that is played is vibrant and alive.
To the luthier that works with the wood, it isn’t just a block of wood. It has a life (okay, that’s a bit weird, but whatever, we’ll let it play). Maybe so, but without the craftsman’s knowledge and skill that block of wood is useless! If you watch the video, you see that the luthier has a piece of wood that is over a hundred years old. It is aged and finally ready to be made into a violin, a process that takes months and months.
The luthier states that he is putting the soul of the violinist into that instrument. Reading an interview with a luthier of guitars, he states something very similar. Despite the differences in woods and designs, his guitars have a unique sound that he credits with the heart and soul he puts into his work.
Spiritually, I could draw SO MANY applications from this video, so bear with me as we jump from point to counterpoint.
First of all, I am a violin. (“Play the violin; think the violin; be the violin”)
Which obviously makes Jesus the Luthier. He takes what looks like a dumb block of wood, but gives it life in a miraculous way. It’s a long process to get there. Sanctification, or putting His soul (mind, emotions, and will) into us takes years and years.
It strikes me too that Jesus isn’t crafting us through sanctification into an instrument for someone else to use. We can’t be sanctified to the World’s use. That’s ridiculous. Sanctified means set apart and we are set apart from the world. We can’t let the world get its oily fingers on us and change our sound.
Also, set apart to something. Are we looking at ourselves as delicate, unusable instruments, the local Church congregation as a museum for perfect Christians for others to look at? Absolutely not!
A violin that is played is a violin that gets nicked, gets worn, and fades, but those violins bring a lot more joy to the listeners than the ones behind glass.
If you ask me, living the Christian life is messy. It’s hard. Some Christians get nicked and gouged.
Jesus knows what he’s doing and since He created us, He knows how to preserve us. And one day, all Christians will all play in that enormous symphony orchestra in the sky. I’ll probably be in the back of the second violins, but at least I’ll be there.
I hope you will too.
* pronounced “LOO-ti-er” and means one who makes or repairs stringed instruments.