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Summary: We can get in such a rush with life that we miss God because of busyness.

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Luke 1:46-55 KJV And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, [47] And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. [48] For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. [49] For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. [50] And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. [51] He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. [52] He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. [53] He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. [54] He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; [55] As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

I. INTRODUCTION—JOSHUA BELL IN THE WASHINGTON, D.C. METRO

On Friday January 12, 2007, at 7:51 AM an unassuming street musician stepped into one of the ticket lobbies in the D.C. metro. He pulled out of a case, a violin, and after a few pulls with the bow begin to play. For 43 minutes did this musician play as 1,097 people passed by him with hardly a second look.

He played six classical masterpieces that generally are reserved for concert halls where tickets range in price from $100 to as much as $450 per seat for performance. He began with “Chaconne” from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No. 2 in D Minor which took 14 minutes to complete. He then went into Franz Schubert’s “Ave Maria” from there to Manuel Ponce’s “Estrellita” and on to piece by Massenet before concluding with a piece by Bach. For the very few, in fact, only about six the other 1,091 missed the music on that day.

What all of the people who passed by did not know was the identity of the violinist although that might not made much of a difference because on 3-4% of the general public even listen to classical music. They also did not know that he was playing a violin that was made in 1713 by Antonio Stradivari and was almost 300 years old and had never been refinished, still in its original condition. They also did not know that three days prior to this metro interlude that the violinist had filled the Symphony Hall in Boston where the cheapest seats were around $100. What the hurrying mass did not know was that Joshua Bell one of the world’s top violinists on our times was putting on the performance of a lifetime.

Working in collaboration with the Washington Post, he agreed to help with a study about the effect of music on people in places where they do not expect to find it. Clearly only the six who stopped long enough to listen were familiar enough with the music to know. Of the six who stopped to listen, only one woman recognized Mr. Bell because she had been at a performance that he had given in the Library of Congress the previous year. She only caught the last 5 minutes of the performance and she jokingly said that only in a place like D.C. could people be so oblivious to greatness. One other man stopped to listen for about nine minutes and tossed $5 into the case and he was embarrassed that he only had that much cash to drop in on that day. Joshua Bell’s total intake that morning was a bit over $32 when he normally places for about $1000 a minute for his performances around the world.


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