Thursday, April 01, 2004

Newsletter: Piano Man

In 1973, Billy Joel released, Piano Man, a song that has since become a classic. The setting of the song is a bar. Joel introduces us to a number of the patrons who drink and listen to the piano player: “…it's me they've been coming to see/To forget about life for awhile.” The song is actually quite depressing. Each of the patrons has a story of disappointment. We meet Paul the “real estate novelist/Who never had time for a wife.” We meet an old man, “making love to his tonic and gin,” longing for the past. We meet John who laments, “Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star/If I could get out of this place.”

The song has probably lasted these many years because it speaks to the common experience of unrealized hopes. Each one of us can list regrets, missed opportunities, and failure. The litany of disappointment recited by the crowd on Saturday night shares much in common with our confession of sin on Sunday morning. Yet there is a difference. On Saturday night, the businessmen lose themselves in their drinks and the music of the piano man. They practice a few hours of forgetfulness. On Sunday morning, we practice forgiveness for all eternity. Because of the resurrection, because of Easter, we have victory. We rise above our failure just as our Savior has risen from the ultimate failure of death.

On the subject of the resurrection, the Apostle Paul writes, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Cor 15:17-19). The pastor, Eugene Peterson, has expressed Paul’s words this way, “If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.” The truth of Easter changes everything, and new life is the result. The communion we share together with our Lord Jesus Christ is certainly better than “sharing a drink they call loneliness” and it’s better than “drinking alone.”

Grace & Peace,

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