The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.
– Dorothea Lange –
I love the message contained in those words . . . there is such truth in them. Taken literally, I can recall many times I’ve looked at photographs and been surprised at how different things looked! I admit, if I’m in the photograph, I tend to think “oh, I wish I’d worn more makeup” or “why did I wear that blouse?” but generally I’ll see my garden in a picture and think “wow, it looks GOOD.” My livingroom, in a picture, will catch my eye anew as I see things I walk by everyday with fresh eyes. Vision . . . pictures . . . words . . .
What leaps off the screen to me as I reread the quote is the word “instrument.” What is an instrument? My church has many fine musicians. As they perform their part in leading worship I seldom fail to feel the power of the Holy Spirit lifting me up. The piano, drums, guitars, organ, violin . . . beautiful and life-giving instruments of praise. Instruments. Think about it though. What is an instrument? On its own, it’s not much. It’s simply a thing. Still and silent, it cannot encourage without a hand to pick it up and enable it or use it for a higher purpose than it can ever have left idle in the room. As followers of Christ and as a people called upon to a higher purpose for Him, we can learn much from those violins and guitars and such.
We are animate as humans and thus we can perform without a hand holding us, this is true. I’ve tried it. Speaking for myself, I know without the Lord’s constant presence in my life, I am nothing. Without the Holy Spirit leading me, protecting me, filling me, I can do nothing. I need to surrender and be an instrument through which a divine hand plays music and inspires. The music that this instrument that is me has any hope of producing comes not from the instrument herself, but through giving over myself to my love of Jesus and allowing Him to work through me.
He has a purpose for my life. He has a song for me to sing. With His love and through Him, I will sing! Sing with me, won’t you? He has a song for each one of us to sing in the divine choir that is the Body of Christ in this world. Choose to be His instrument!
‘The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.’ Habakkuk 3:18-19