Friday, January 27, 2012

The Old Violin

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Romans 9:21 
Does not the potter have power 
over the clay, 
from the same lump 
to make one vessel for honor 
and another for dishonor?

When I was a older child I remember loving a book of poems that my mother had compiled when she was a older child. In it she had many wonderful poems and she had taken the time to illustrate many of them. I remember loving reading the poems in the book and made my own stabs at making my own book of favorite poems. I found one of them while going through things in storage - I am always surprised when things from the past surface. I know of friends who have lived in the same place in the same house most of their life. I think my family has gypsy blood in it somewhere because for my entire life we moved every 2 years once in a while 3 years. As a result there are not a lot of things that remain from my childhood, so I am surprised when things do surface. In moving I have lost a lot of things, and lost track of people so I am blessed and surprised when they some how surface.

 In that book was a poem called the Old Violin or The Touch of the Master's Hand - by Myra Brooks Welch


'Twas battered and scarred,
And the auctioneer thought it
hardly worth his while
To waste his time on the old violin,
but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good people", he cried,
"Who starts the bidding for me?"
"One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?"
"Two dollars, who makes it three?"
"Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No,
From the room far back a gray bearded man
Came forward and picked up the bow,
Then wiping the dust from the old violin
And tightening up the strings,
He played a melody, pure and sweet
As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?"
As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?"
"Two thousand, Who makes it three?"
"Three thousand once, three thousand twice,
Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered,
But some of them cried,
"We just don't understand."
"What changed its' worth?"
Swift came the reply.
"The Touch of the Masters Hand."
"And many a man with life out of tune
All battered and bruised with hardship
Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd
Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine,
A game and he travels on.
He is going once, he is going twice,
He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes,
And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.




So I'm sure you are wondering what has sent me off in this direction today. Part of it was someone asking me yesterday the difference between a violin and a fiddle. Not much anymore - it is more the difference in the musical style played than differences in the instrument. I am tired this morning and I am struggling to keep my thoughts on a cohesive path. I was thinking about the value of things this morning as I sat on my couch trying to stay awake and trying to pray. Its not been one of my better mornings and my thoughts have mostly wandered. I sat there trying to focus my attention on the Lord, and not doing a very good job of it, while getting distracted by things like the trash did not get taken out for pick up, and I better got do that, which meant finding my shoes and coat. Then I remembered that we are out of coffee and that required a trip down to the store, which required getting dressed and brushing my unruly morning hair. Anyway so I am back from all my distractions and I am again sitting on the couch, a bit more awake at this point. I think this idea has needed some time to percolate and develop before I could sit here and write it. I remind myself that God loves me just as much on this kind of morning as he does on morning when I am more focused and together. I think he is simply glad that I have come to spend time with Him. So I rest in that knowledge.

So my idea was that when I am cutting glass for my mosaic projects it is not the glass that used that changes the price of the finished piece it is often the types of cuts that I use. The back ground rectangle shape I can cut very fast and I don't loose any glass in the process of making that shape. I can cut those on a diagonal and get triangular shapes also very quick to cut and no glass is lost. The tear drops and circles take much more skill, time and glass is lost in creating those shapes. The other thing that is a factor is how small I must work to be able to get the desired details, and how many times I will have to re work an area to get it right. Like the eyes and faces on the Beloved project took a number of tries to get it right. The most dangerous time in this kind of work is not cutting the glass but having to remove glass that has been glued in to place. That is when generally end up cutting myself. It takes both simple and complex shapes to create the finished project.

I read the following quote in one of the Bible Gateway commentaries.


"God has created each of us for a purpose--but our purposes are unique, and some are more outwardly glamorous than others. But in God's eyes, the most important question is not how impressive your purpose is, but whether or not you are allowing God to use you for the purpose He intends for you." 
So to tie all this together from violins to glass cutting to how it relates to the spiritual insight that I hope to convey.  In the case of the old violin, it did not look like much and the crowd could not see its value until the master picked it up and played it. The violin was created to make music but needed to be in the hands of a master for it's purpose to be fulfilled. The same is true of us we may not realize our value or purpose until in the masters hands he some how plays upon our life. 
I was thinking also of diamonds, there are industrial diamonds that are not very pretty but they are very strong and used in industry for drilling and cutting. Then there are the beautiful cut diamonds. The skill of the person cutting them plays a big part in their value and beauty. 
So all this to say that you may feel like God is cutting and pruning your life over and over and that you have been going through much hardship and pressure. Perhaps God is preparing you for some special use and he must cut away the excess to reveil his desired shape in your life. You may feel like that old violin and you may even agree with the estimation of the crowd that you are not of much value. Perhaps it is time to ask the Lord to take you in His hands and to play upon your life.

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