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Topic: Failure (03/01/04)
TITLE: The Air
By Joyce Poet
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I tied a cloth to a string and ran it through the horn. Oh, the awful mess that came out on that cloth! I wondered how it ever made a sound at all.
I played again and the sound was slightly clearer. Still, I was not satisfied because I’d seen no one resurrected into life everlasting. The horn was rusty inside.
I found some blood at the foot of an ancient tree and drenched the cloth in it. I then ran that blood-soaked cloth once more through the horn and let the blood soften the rust. And again, I blew with all my might.
All of a sudden, many bones gathered together and dead men were walking around. The music would have been perfect with notes rising and falling majestically. But the horn had still not been tuned to distinction.
I took the horn to a professional for tuning, the music man, and then tried once more. This time, hundreds upon hundreds of dead men encircled me. They seemed drawn in by the sound of the trumpet.
Breaking free of the deathly circle, I quickly made my way back to the music man. “You said it was properly tuned and cleansed. So tell me, why do these bones follow me incessantly?”
I was shocked, even appalled by his answer. “Perhaps it isn’t the horn at all. It’s most likely the fault of the person playing it. Have you considered that you are not worthy to play even as well as you do?”
I angrily took up my trumpet and went home, sulking, of course. All these years of practice were not enough? I would continue to play without the music man’s blessing, but only to my own disgrace.
Every time I played, the dead men continued to follow me around. I couldn’t stand anymore and finally swallowed my pride. “Okay, music man. You win. Will you teach me to play?”
“It isn’t something I can teach you. It must come naturally. You must learn to bring the air from somewhere far below your throat. It must come from a place within your soul.”
I went back to the ancient tree and simply sat beneath it. I cried out in humbleness, “My only desire is to play well enough to see the dying live. How does one find breath from within the soul?”
The air under that tree was extraordinarily refreshing. Inhaling deeply, I played “The Old Rugged Cross” and laid my trumpet at the foot of the tree. I’d finally given up and had almost decided never to play again.
When suddenly, much to my surprise, flesh came on those bones. A resurrected people gathered around me, pressing in on me. Of course, I picked up my trumpet and played again.
Only now, they sang along. “Oh, the blood of Jesus...” Perhaps it was not the inability of the person playing the trumpet after all. I believe it had more to do with the air being pushed through the mouthpiece.
God is God
and the Holy Spirit is His breath.
I am but a trumpet
that sings of Jesus’ death
and the resurrecting power
of the blood of the Lamb
that washes white as snow
in a dry and thirsty land. Selah
Oh, Father. Keep me cleansed daily so that the sound of Your voice is unmistakably clear. Let every tone be perfect. Let me never become a clanging cymbal. Holy Spirit, breathe in me and through me so that the Word never returns void. Keep me at the foot of the cross as a reminder of where I came from. Keep me humble and forever honored to find Your lips pressed to my throat, tuning my voice box. Let me never leave the mercy seat. Amen