InterVarsity Press has republished musician John Michael Talbot’s book, The Master Musician, and I wanted to recommend it here as a nice, brief, but poignant devotional reflection on Christian growth both individually and corporately. Talbot is a Franciscan monk based in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, whose music I have been listening to for over twenty years. He has been writing and performing music on a very high level for a very long time, and his expertise will be evident as you read this book.
He establishes his operational premise at the outset of the book:
God is the Master Musician. We are his instruments. He gently plucks the strings of our lives to make a harmonious song for all creation. We are like a beautifully crafted guitar, formed, seasoned and brought to expression by the same hand. (Kindle Locations 30-32)
The remainder of the book is the fleshing out of this analogy. Individually, he likens the Christian to a guitar and discusses the implications of a guitar’s creation and playing for the Christian life. Corporately, he expands the analogy out to encompass various forms of musical expression: choral, symphonic, ensembles, folk, rock, etc. His ecclesiological and, specifically, ecumenical conclusions from this exercise are intriguing and thought-provoking. He comes closing to pushing the analogy beyond the brink, but never quite does so.
In all, this is an accessible, creative, and helpful look at the Christian life through the eyes of a tremendous musician who is drawing on the world he knows best. Highly recommended.