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May 16, 2019

Stephane Deneve reminded me of an important lesson Friday evening.

It’s one that two of my heroes, Bill Mallard and Don Saliers, first taught me years ago.

In the process, all three tacitly echoed what I’d experienced many times while holding both my trumpet and my breath.

It had happened in that moment just before an orchestra, or a concert band, or a brass choir made a sound. Every musician’s eyes were focused on the conductor and her/his baton upraised baton, awaiting the downbeat.

Drs. Mallard and Saliers advised me in seminary to pause at the very beginning of a sermon and let everyone settle in and focus.

Maestro Deneve excels at many things while on the podium in front of the St. Louis Symphony, not the least of which is a Pause — with a tacit capital “P” — at both the beginning and end of a piece.

Such punctuation is powerful beyond description.

Isaiah 30 says this:

God, the Master, The Holy of Israel,
has this solemn counsel:

“Your salvation requires you to turn back to me
and stop your silly efforts to save yourselves.

Your strength will come from settling down
in complete dependence on me,

The very thing
you’ve been unwilling to do.

You’ve said, ‘Nothing doing!

We’ll rush off on horseback!’”

— Maybe all of this is a reminder for you and me that we need to balance our lives and build in….well…a…[pause]….




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