I was watching a video of a fantastic band, “The Quadraphonnes”, offering up a live performance. “The Quadraphonnes” refers to the four saxophone players that make of the heart of the group, but they also have a very tight rhythm section that adds a deep, rich dimension to their sound. At one point Leah Hinchcliff, their Bass player, knocked an astounding solo out of the park. While her mastery of the instrument was evident in the ease with which she played, what really blew me away was how cool, calm and collected she was the entire time. Her solo just seemed to flow from her soul to her fingers.
Reflecting on how naturally she made music opened my eyes to a different take on performers of her ability. She doesn’t simply “play” the Bass, she plays with it. I don’t mean that it’s a toy; rather, her consummate skill lets the music flow from her. She doesn’t think about the basic mechanics or theory. She just makes music.
When I play drums or piano, I have to concentrate on each action and note, focussing my attention more on getting things right than actually making music. For someone like Leah Hinchcliff the opposite is the case. She is so well-practiced and gifted that she can play with her Bass and make it sing as easily as you or I can breathe. It is truly a pleasure not only to hear her make music, but also to see how that music flows from her. I can play a piano and make moderately musical noises. Leah Hinchcliff plays with her bass and makes astounding music.
Of course, not all of us can devote the time and effort it takes a musician like her to master an instrument or skill. That’s why it’s such a blessing to see and hear consummate professionals like Leah play. It’s a reminder of what humans can achieve and the beauty we can create.
As followers of Jesus we’re challenged by His command to love one another and by his example of what love looks like. It can seem like a task that we might never master, but love isn’t about skills; it’s what we’re made for. And it’s not about getting it right. Love is about bringing joy to one another, helping each other when we struggle, celebrating when we succeed and giving to God what God first gave us.
What God gave us is a wonderful, beautiful world in which to live as well as talents to share and enjoy. Most importantly, Our Creator-God gave us love that binds Creator and Creation together. That same love lets us bless friends, families, enemies and strangers alike. Because it is part of who we are, love isn’t work; it something we do joyfully, thankfully, generously. Love might even be something we do as naturally as Leah Hinchcliff plays with her Bass. Maybe we can reach a point where don’t have to think about loving one another. Maybe we can reach the point where we just love one another as easily, naturally and masterfully as Jesus loves us.