Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I can't fix the problems in the trumpet section if I can't hear them (confession/absolution)

In my days of being a K-12 Instrumental Music Major at Dickinson State University in Dickinson, ND, under the direction of Dr. Steven Sudduth, I learned a lesson that would carry over into my own teaching, as well as into the spiritual.

One particular day we were rehearsing the Finale of Shostakovich's 5th Symphony. The trumpet section was being a bit quieter than usual. As it turns out, as a whole they weren't feeling too comfortable with their parts. As a result they were playing quieter to avoid their missed notes being noticed. They were trying to cover up their mistakes, their inadequacies. Once Dr. Sudduth figured out what was going on he stopped us and addressed the entire band. "People, I can't fix your mistakes if I can't hear them. Don't hide from them. Even if you're not comfortable with your part still play it as confidently as you can. I'll fix the mistakes as I hear them, but I can't fix any if I can't hear them."

Dr. Sudduth told us this because he cared about us. He wanted to fix things. He wanted to fix our mistakes, fix us, to make things right. He had the knack of teaching spiritual truths from time to time through his music instruction.

In a similar way, God the Father wants to make right His children. When we sin, we have this tendency to try to hide and cover up our sin. Or we try on our own, apart from Christ, to "make things right" by "doing good stuff" to balance out the equation. As this continues we can actually come to despair as the sin just builds up and up and up. Or we start to compare ourselves to others as we delve into "works righteousness" to make ourselves feel better about our sinful selves.

God doesn't want us to hide our sin. He wants us to confess it to Him that he might absolve us. (1 John 1:9) It's a promise that He will always forgive the contrite sinner. So stop trying to hide what the Father knows already. Stop trying to "earn" the Father's forgiveness. To try to earn the Father's forgiveness is to deny the person and work of Christ. Speak to the Father and confess. Speak to your pastor and confess. Hear the words of the Gospel. "Your sins are forgiven."

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

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