The Day the Music Stopped

. . ..Something To Think About. . .

Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. The man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approx. 2 thousand people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

Joshua Bell

4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell , one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

The questions raised:

*In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*Do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made.

How many other things are we missing?

Jesus posed a similar challenge in Matthew 11:16-19

17” ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.’ 18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and “sinners.” ‘ But wisdom is proved right by her actions.”

Do you feel that your life gives you a chance to REALLY Hear from God??

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  1. This really has me thinking. As I was riding in the car with my 15 year old just yesterday I was missing the way we used to talk and be together. Wondering why she can talk on the phone for 2 hours to her friends but has nothing to say to me. (normal I’m sure but I miss her). Just wanting so much to talk with her, teach her about life, show her how much I love her but she’s not interested. (the ipod, phone, computer, friends, tv…all more important).

    So I’m wondering…is this what I am doing with God? Am I mindlessly going about my day uninterested in what He has to say? All the while missing His beauty, His leading and His love…..this has me thinking…

  2. I heard about that experiment! Crazy. I bet Jacob would have noticed (and we wouldn’t have rushed him by). He’s playing his violin constantly today! 🙂

  3. This is powerful. I’ve been trying to be perceptive to the Holy Spirit in my life. Sometimes the rush of everyday mundane things make me hurry along when I should pause and take it in. Thanks for sharing this.
    Thanks for the comment. It means a great deal.

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