43:23 (or Thereabouts)

I recently purchased and downloaded Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Wow.

Considered to be one of the most amazing works of Western music, its power and beauty can be breathtaking. But, as I listened, something struck me about the piece. In case you didn’t know, the 9th is long. Over an hour (that’s pretty rare in our modern world, yes?).

For most of that hour, we—the audience—is waiting; waiting for “that” melody that we recognize. By my (admittedly dodgy) calculations, the musical theme that we identify with comes in at around 3:35 of the 4th Movement. That’s over forty minutes into the piece. 

But you know who waits even longer?

The choir.

A choir—a rarity in symphonic music at the time— sings the theme again even later in the 4th Movement. They have waited for almost 50 minutes to sing; to do their part in the symphony; to contribute to one of the most beautiful moments in symphonic music.

Sometimes it’s easy to feel like a member of the choir. We sit with nothing to do, watching others play and develop the masterpiece. We may feel like we’re on the sidelines, or that our gifts aren’t needed. But eventually it will be our time to sing. It will be our time to open up our mouths and to do our part in the music that’s been written. We need to be ready.

Are you in a time of waiting? Are you being called to contribute, but the “way” hasn’t seemed open yet? Is it just that the symphony hasn’t arrived at your part yet? When the time comes, are you prepared to sing?

When it does, rest assured that you are helping to create a work of beauty and redemption.

This vision is for a future time.
It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.
If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed. (Habakkuk 2:3)

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