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Making music in the Kingdom Come

[Had to write a "personal chatty thought provoking piece" for the weekly college news letter. Here is my attempt. BTW it is New Zealand Music Month this month, and my college is marking that by having Music Week this coming week. You can get points for spotting the Bible references :-)]

When Jesus the Christ returns as Lord and King to redeem and renew creation all human wisdom and invention will also be taken up and integrated into the life of eternity. Scientists, inventors, engineers, artists, gardeners, farmers, and all the rest will somehow find their vocations transformed and incorporated into the Kingdom come, where God is all and in all. But not all human work is capable of being translated into the new age: arms manufacturers, military, police, and politicians, among others, will be rendered unnecessary by the coming of the King. This is why all preachers and theologians need a hobby. The time will come when people do not need to be taught about God, because they will know God. They will not need to read about God, because they will see God. There will be no need to tell people what God is like, because they will be like him. In a world like that there will be no need for pastors, Bible teachers, or authors of books about God. Having faithfully completed their essential work they will find themselves suddenly redundant. This is good news indeed! (And not just for those who find listening to sermons hard work!!)

I first heard the call of God to preach and pastor when I was halfway through a music degree at Lancaster University in the UK. It came as a surprise. It also came as a frustration; I had musical plans, dreams, and ambition, did I have to stop all that to go and do something else now? However, the more I explored that call, the more I realised how great the urgency was. The neglect and misunderstanding of God’s word is pandemic throughout God’s people, and, like so many things in life, if you’re not part of the solution you are part of the problem. I soon experienced the joy and fulfilment that come from faithfully ministering God’s word to people. Here I am ten years later and the call and joy are still there – I am enthusiastically studying and applying God’s word and trying to encourage others to do so through my work at Carey and involvement with church. But the frustration is still there also. I know that I am half the musician I could be, if only I could find more time to practise. I know that I have had so many great ideas and flashes of musical inspiration that have had to be ignored because of other commitments. My song book is full of half finished compositions. Events like music week are great fun, and a good opportunity to dust off the guitar, but they are also a reminder of unfulfilled ambitions and dormant dreams. (Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming that I would have been ‘a great success’ as a musician or anything – I mean, who knows? I am just talking about creative fulfilment.)

However, there are no regrets, only the expectation that eternal life is going to be spent glorifying God – with all God’s people – in the renewed creation. And so I keep up my frustrated musicianship where I can, in anticipation of the day when Bible teachers become surplus to requirements and I can finally get on with making the music that God has put in my heart. Amen, come Lord Jesus!

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