Joshua Bell, a virtuoso violinist, played his priceless instrument with skill and passion. Hardly anyone noticed in the rush. A few children gazed curiously while adults hurried them past.
The Man with the Violin is based on that event, told from the imagined perspective of one of those children. The boy’s preoccupied mother doesn’t notice the musician making melodies in the midst of the crowded subway racket and drags him along. But her son can’t forget the experience until he is able to share it with his mother later that evening, when they can finally enjoy it together.
I found this story convicting. One of the reasons I am thankful for motherhood is that I have four little witnesses calling me to pause my activities and observe ordinary wonders. Thankfully my boys are persistent in spite of my automatic “just a minute” so I don’t always miss the opportunities.
I am reminded of another unexpected visitor who arrived in the midst of an unsuspecting crowd. Christ humbled himself to a dim, unsanitary reception and was veiled in flesh during his years on earth. He was appreciated only by the humble in spirit. How often am I too busy to thank him?
Perhaps what we know of creation’s post-fall beauty is more comparable to the dim, dirty, noisy, grey hades of the subway system. Christ entered our mess of sin and corruption, not merely to provide a little joy and beauty, but to redeem us from sin and corruption so that we could be raised to glory with him. Sometimes we get a glimpse while we wait, but the reality of eternity in his presence will be like transcending from the subway to Carnegie Hall.