Sin in symphony

One can live in the desert only so long. There comes a time when I desire far more.  Last night Mike and I traveled into town for dinner and a night at the symphony.  I had decided that this would be my blog topic for Guess What? Friday.  So before leaving the house, I slipped my camera into my pocket.  This is where my childhood begins to haunt me…once again.


One, I hate to have my picture taken.  So the idea of one of those long-armed candid shots of us in front of Symphony Hall was out of the question. Two, my parents voices kept replaying in my head, “Follow the rule or you shall surely die.” Okay, I know that sounds extreme but in my little mind that’s how I heard it.


The rule that threw me into a mental battle of should I or should I not was:  No flash photography during the performance.  I wanted a picture of the orchestra plus the 100-member symphony chorus in the worse way. They all looked so grand and I knew you’d be impressed.  But the entire time we waited in our great seats (lower level, near center stage) the more I battled.  Counting down to the start of the performance and I had decided that the rule claimed ‘during the performance’ so therefore a picture taken just seconds before they started would not be against the rule.  I eyed the people around me hoping someone else would be daring enough to break the rule before me.  But this was a seasoned symphony crowd and no one even dared.  So I waited and I counted down the seconds with nervous anxiety.


It was time, all were on stage and waiting for conductor Michael Christie to make his entrance, this was it.  My hot sweaty hand toying with the camera slowly slips out to take aim.  But that very second the overhead screen flashed this sign:

It must have been a sign from God.  He was saving me from my sure death or maybe just a stern warning from the usher. Either one would have been devastating to me in my fragile state.  Once again, I could not break the rule.  Tell me, what would you have done?  Am I the only one that sweats the rules?


So now the third thing, I always reprimand myself relentlessly.  There are now three voices going inside my head.  Mine added to my parents and all are saying, “See I told you so.  You should’ve known you’d get caught.  You’ll lucky you’re not dead.”  I am grateful to Symphony Hall for providing the words of the oratorio with a powerful visual presentation throughout the performance or I might have missed the entire thing due to the agony of my mind.


It’s not too late for you to get tickets for Saturday’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah.  I encourage you to view this link and listen to the preview.



Here are my favorite parts.


The story opens at the time of the famine when Elijah performed by Juilliard graduate Brian Mulligan is declaring no rain to come and the people are crying out.  Passages of Obadiah are calling the people to repentance.  Elijah flees to the widow.


Elijah:  Now, behold, thy son liveth!

The widow: Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that his word in my mouth is the truth.  What shall I render to the Lord for all his benefits to me?

Elijah: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and withal thy soul and all thy might.  O blessed are they who fear him!

The People: Blessed are the men who fear him.

Never again will I be able to read of the battle on Mt Carmel without hearing the voices of Elijah and the chorus sing:


Prophets of Baal: Baal, we cry to thee, hear and answer us!…

Elijah: Call him louder, for he is a god!…

Prophets: Hear our cry o Baal!  Now arise!  Wherefore slumber?

Elijah: Call him louder, he heareth not.

Then when the fire of God consumes Elijah’s offering:

People: The fire descends from heaven! The flames consume his offering!  Before Him upon your faces fall!  The Lord is God, the Lord is God! O Israel hear! Our God is one Lord, and we will have no other gods before the Lord.

Part 2 opens with Elijah alone and in despair.  But oh, how it ends well.


The angel voices lift him:

Angels: Oh rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, and He shall give thee thy heart’s desires…


The Lord is not in the wind, tempest, or earthquake but in the still small voice.  My words could never bring you to the heights where orchestra and voice can lift you.  I won’t even try.


The fiery chariot comes for Elijah as he sings,

Elijah: I go on my way in the strength of the Lord for Thou art my Lord; and I will suffer for Thy sake.  My heart is therefore glad, my glory rejoiceth, and my flesh shall also rest in hope.

Glory to God I experienced Elijah’s life in my own spirit.  My despair was swept away in the swell of the music.  I left rejoicing in Him.  Oh, the power of His Word.



Do you dare take a camera?



4 responses

  1. THanks Sheila what a story,I love your words, uplifting and for ever his words.

    I miss you ,still wish we could get a week-end together some how. Pray you and Mike are well and enjoying this cold air.

    Blessings my friend

    1. Hey! I would love to have some time together. Maybe this summer in the mountains! We could escape the heat of the desert. Thanks for your prayers. Love ya

  2. Janet LaSalandra | Reply

    I have been like that about rules all my life. My Dad is a stickler and I had the same voice in my head when we are somewhere like that and the rules say…
    Elijah..what a beautiful piece of music. I remember in college working on that as a student in the college choir. Thanks for sharing that.

    1. I’m so glad someone else understands. Mike is the opposite so he thinks I’m crazy! Wow, I would love to be talented and sing or play something at this level. It was beautiful.

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