Pitch perfect

Everyone in the concert hall, including the orchestra, waits for my daughter to play a single note.

In fact, the concert can’t begin without her. She’s that important.

She is, after all, the oboe. And the oboe tunes all the other instruments.

Being parents of four children who played in orchestras and bands, my wife and I are accomplished concert-goers. And we eagerly hope for just one solo – even a single phrase – so we can give each other the “that’s-our-kid” glance. So it’s satisfying to start the concert with our daughter’s playing, even if it is a rather one-note performance.

As I listen to the concert unfold, I find the sweeping beauty of the music pulling my thoughts and emotions toward the Lord. Over the years, I’ve learned to let the moods of the compositions be auditory reminders of various facets of God’s character – his tenderness in the swelling melodies, his grandeur and greatness in the thunderous passages. Listening to a concert of instrumental music can be a time of worship that draws from deeper than just pure intellect.

And none of that beautiful performance would be possible if the instruments hadn’t first been aligned.

Praise is the note that tunes us. No matter who we are. Or where. Regardless of our situation. When we contemplate on the character of God and give words to a response (even if those words aren’t spoken aloud), we realign our hearts to the true pitch.

Psalm 147:1 describes how we are made for praise:

            Praise the LORD!
            For it is good to sing praises to our God;
                      for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting. (ESV)

Praise is “fitting.” It’s our home base, our default mode, in this world and the next. Charles Spurgeon said, “Praise is the rehearsal of our eternal song.”

This tuning is not a once-and-done thing. Throughout the concert, the orchestra would pause and Grace would sound her note again. Again, the strings, woodwinds and brass would give voice, to check the trueness of their instruments.

We, too, need regular check-ins. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love, says the old hymn. We need, throughout each day, to match the alignment of our hearts to that of the Master.

Only then can our performances be in perfect harmony.

God, you are worthy of all praise, glory and honor. And only you would think to embed in the giving of praise a blessing in return – making our honoring of you feel like home to our hearts. Bring us back to that note again and again.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And if you liked this, please use the buttons above to share it!

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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