Artur Schnabel defined “great music” as “music that is composed better than it can be played.” I think the same can be said of Christianity. Only One has played the score perfectly, and he was The Composer. Some people have done magnificently. Others seem to forget the score halfway through, while still others never get past the practice stage. Most players are just average.

But the score, as God wrote it, and as our Lord himself lived it, is the most beautiful the world has ever heard.

Beethoven wrote some of his greatest music after he became deaf. Though he never heard it, he composed music “better than it can be played.” There was another musician in a land where for years “God’s music” was not allowed to be played. Daily he took out his score of Handel’s Messiah and placed it on the dining room table. Then, on the table, his fingers silently and diligently played through the entire score. “He was making music,” commented a friend, “that only God could hear.”

Anything worth doing well takes practice. I listen to great pianists, watch the Olympics, hear about surgeons who perform incredible operations. And then I think of the hours of daily practice over the years that brought them to that place. It both shames and challenges me. It is easy to become casual in a land where Christianity is accepted.

If there are any regrets in heaven, perhaps they will be that given such beautiful music to play—music “composed better than it can be played”—most of us have practiced so casually, so little.

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