Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Moments of Grace

A few weeks back, Home Box Office (which we managed to snag in a free offer when we renegotiated our cable package) was running the movie, "Temple Grandin," starring Claire Danes. If you get the chance to see this film, I'd highly recommend it. Temple was a woman who had autism, but she and her family didn't let that stop her from living life and pursuing her interests and dreams. (I write this knowing full well there are some autistic children who will never be able to do that.) She eventually became a leading authority on how to treat livestock in the cattle industry and wrote many influential articles and books.

Mental Floss has posted her TED talk from a couple weeks ago, and if you know anyone dealing with autism on any level, you might find it quite interesting, indeed.

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference is an annual event where the best and the brightest in those three fields share their insights. View all the videos - they usually run about 20 minutes each - here.



During January [year unknown], the Washington Post conducted an experiment. What would happen if a world-class musician performed elegant classical music on a priceless instrument in the Metro station [subway system] of a major American city?

The city was Washington, DC. The musician was Joshua Bell, who can earn upwards of $50,000 for an evening's performance. The instrument was a 300 year-old Stradivarius violin valued at $3.5 million. The music selection included the works of Bach and other masters.

The experiment was captured on hidden camera. What happened? How did people respond?

During Mr. Bell's 45 minute performance, 1,097 people passed by. 27 of them dropped spare change into his open violin case, for a total of $35. And seven of them stopped what they were doing to listen for at least one minute. The other 1,070 hurried past, oblivious, uninterested, unmoved.

This experiment might offer hope to pastors and teachers who find themselves frustrated at the lack of response their timeless message too often receives.

But we must also ask ourselves, how many times a day does something like this happen to you or me? How many times do we encounter truth, beauty, and excellence, without giving it a second look? How many messages of hope do we ignore? How many demonstrations of grace do we disregard? How many divine appointments do we overlook?

From Ezra: "But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage." (Ezra 9:8)

Let's make an effort to recognize - and fully experience - those brief moments of grace God sends our way. There will be at least a few today. Will you see them?

[written by Steve May; as seen in Kim Quiggle's Cup O'Cheer]


WORDS for YOUR WEEK: "Each day offers us the gift of being a special occasion if we can simply learn that as well as giving, it is blessed to receive with grace and a grateful heart." (Sarah Ban Breathnach)


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