Today I went to a live performance of Handel’s Messiah. I was disappointed. Not in the piece of music or the performance of it; it is a fabulous story straight out of scripture, set to fabulous music. The performance was good as well; while not professionals, they were talented musicians with beautiful voices. No, what was disappointing was something else. I walked in with a desire to worship God, to be carried away by the music, but I found myself distracted.
I got there late and didn’t get to sit in the sanctuary. I was sitting in a chair on the back row of the foyer. The place was packed. The outside doors were right behind me, and I was cold. The overhead lights were bright, making it harder to focus on the performance itself. I was looking through a small window able to see only a few of the performers, listening through the open sanctuary doors. People were moving around me, in and out. A child knocked a large, obviously unbreakable ornament off a Christmas tree, and the ball went bouncing across the tile floor with metallic dings while the embarrassed parent tried to pretend it wasn’t happening. We in the foyer laughed a bit; it was funny after all. An ancient old man in front of me informed his daughter that when he was a young man he sang this. The disappointment set in as I sat with all these distractions going on around me. My thoughts began to wander… I wondered when I could find a couple of hours to listen to it by myself, to sit and meditate and worship without distraction. I almost left.
Suddenly the place was filled with music! Somehow we had reached the climax without my awareness. How did it sneak up on me like that? And then I was swept up in the glory of the resurrection; it was fabulous. It was everything I hoped it would be. If I had given up and left during the wait and the disappointment and the frustration, I would have missed the glory of that moment; in fact the glory may have even been greater because of the contrast.
How many glorious things have I missed in moments of impatience and rush?