The Jazz Theologian


Jazz icon Sydney Bechet once gave the following instructions to a fellow musician, “I’m going to give you one note today…See how many ways you can play that note—growl it, smear it, flat it, sharp it, do anything you want to it.”

There are so many notes in the scriptures that you can’t learn to play them all really well.  I think at some level we need to be satisfied being one-note-wonders.  Sure, we know the whole scale but we seek to dive deep in certain areas before moving on.

I mentioned earlier that the first book of the Bible that I read was James.  I have forever been trying to live out that book.  Take James 1.27 for instance.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

I still haven’t mastered the orphan part of that verse.  Sure, I understand it intellectually.  In jazz you don’t really know something until you take it off the page and perform it off the stage.

This one note of caring for the orphans may take me a lifetime to understand the implications upon my family, the church of which I’m a part and the Body of Christ as a whole.

But it seems to me that a bunch of one note wonders playing in concert for and with each other might be able to make some good music.

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