Summary: The best score for life is God’s commands.
Last week I commented that you sounded wonderful as you sang and how I wish that all of us present this morning could have heard the children sing this past week at VBS. One of the songs we sang last week however gave us a bit of a challenge. It was pitched a bit high.
With our digital keyboard we have the capability to change keys at the push of a button. And for that song, I cannot recall which one it was; it was raised two steps too high. I apologize for that as I normally try to lower a song 2 steps so that all of us can sing it.
To access this key change function on the keyboard I push a certain button on that reveals a key change function screen. On this same screen appears the number 440.
440 means 440 vibrations per second. It is the standard measurement for tuning the piano. In fact, it is often referred to as A 440 because it refers to the key of "A" above middle "C."
Writes Robert G Lee," The 440 vibrations of A has been recognized by the US Bureau of Standards. It is a global pitch, so basic that radio and television stations as well as electric companies use it for power calibration."
But Lee goes on to state, "two of the nation’s top symphony orchestras have given "A" a slightly sharper edge. They are tuning their instruments from not at 440 vibrations per second but at 442 vibrations per second, simply to achieve more "brilliance" in stereo and high-fidelity production."
But piano tuners, Lee claims, believe that the added stress to the strings and piano with the higher setting could cause older pianos to explode and put them at risk. By the way, at the regular A 440 setting, the tension of a piano’s 220 strings builds up to 22 tons of pressure.
I want to play a familiar hymn, Amazing Grace, which is page 303 in our red hymn book, first at the 440 setting and then at the 442 setting. Let’s see if we can hear a difference. (Play the hymn).
Could you hear a difference? I could. A slightly crisper, clearer, sound.
One of the other things about music that makes it so wonderful is its mixture of various notes. Some of the keys are major notes, written in a major key, and some of them are minor notes, written in a minor key.
Keep your hymnbooks open to 303 because I have asked ________’s grandson ___ to help me illustrate this by playing Amazing Grace one time. As he plays, listen to the music and hear the changes in the tune. (Amazing Grace is played) Did you hear them? Thanks ___.
Now, I am sure that you did not expect to have a music appreciation lesson this morning, did you? There is a point to all of this. Take a look 303. The top line of notes is the melody line. It is the line that, when we hear it, we know that it is Amazing Grace. (Play the melody line) The other three provide the harmony to the song. (Play the top two notes.)
In Psalm 119:54 the Psalmist says, "Your principles have been the music of my life throughout the years of my pilgrimage." What does he mean by music?
In the Revised Standard Version, this verse is translated from the original Hebrew as, "Thy statues have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage." In the New International Version it reads, "Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge." And in the New American Standard version it is translated, "Thy statues are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage."
Let me suggest the word "score." A score is "the music of a composition or arrangement with different parts indicated." The score is a collection of different notes , which are different in key, tempo, and style. Much like chapters in a book. Much like the chapters of our lives.
We have times in our lives in which our lives are fast and peppy and upbeat. Then we have times or chapters when things are slow, maybe even sad or frustrating and the key is not bright but cloudy.
Those who wrote the book of Psalms had those times as well. They wrote about them and we read them in this wonderful book of the Bible. But, there is a common theme that runs through this musical score of scripture - the faithfulness and presence of God.
And it is this great faithfulness and this abiding presence that the writer of this Psalm speaks of in this verse that comes through the principles of God; the code of conduct that he knew as the Law. Which leads me to ask, "What are the themes of life that people choose to live by these days?"