Winterville United Methodist Church

Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

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April 3, 2017 “Moving on to Perfection”

I have taught EVERY kind of piano student since beginning to teach in 1973.  I have taught students whose mothers said, “I never learned to play so you are going to learn!”  I have taught students who begged their parents for lessons long before they actually enlisted me as a teacher. I have taught students who never touched the piano from one lesson to another, and I have taught students who played constantly from one lesson to another.  I have taught students who simply wanted to play through a piece and checked it off as having been learned however cursorily, and I have taught those who wanted to play and play, practice and practice, until they could play without stops and starts—errors along the way.

Matthew, my grandson, came to his piano lesson this week.  Before I could ask him to play a particular piece, he pulled out his hymn arrangement book and said he wanted to play “When the Saints Go Marching In” for me.  He said, “I want to play it until I can play it perfectly!”

Wow—music to a piano teacher’s ears!  Not literal music—but music in the form of words—that a student, a grandson no less—wants to play “When the Saints Go Marching In” until he can play it perfectly!

John Wesley constantly spoke of that kind of commitment to the Christian walk.  He never once saw the faith as a matter of a one-time decision to follow Jesus.  Instead he saw that day by day the Christian must pledge himself/herself to following in the footsteps of Jesus.  He, in particular, saw the person of faith as on a path of being made perfect—made perfect in love.  One of the historic questions as ministers are ordained is this, “Do you expect to be made perfect in love in this life?”

It’s a daunting question.  Being made perfect sounds impossible for us to achieve this side of heaven.  But God’s desire is that we be in constant pursuit of the love of Christ lived out in our lives.  We need all be more like Matthew, “I want to practice it and practice it until it is perfect!” 

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