Very rarely does the music on Pandora disappoint me. Pandora – if you are not familiar with it – is an internet “radio” station where the listener can custom fit their channel or channels to a particular listening preference. I have various channels – Hymns, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Solo Piano – among others. These channels feature the artist or style – but will throw other pieces in that are along the same lines as the channel title.
Since I custom fit the music, usually I like everything that comes down. But today, I had to give a thumbs down to two different selections – Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and Hotel California by the Eagles. It is not that I dislike these two songs – I actually do – but they were both played on the Solo Piano station – which is where the problem resides.
Cohen’s piece is haunting and thought provoking. It has actually been called one of the greatest songs of this century – with over 300 covers. But it does not work on violins. I tried to listen – I tried to appreciate the artist’s interpretation – but in the end – I down checked it and moved on.
Same thing happened with Hotel California. There are really only two acceptable versions – the classic version with the electric guitars and the live acoustical version. Both performed by the Eagles. It is not – I say not ever – to be performed on a solo piano – especially when the iconic guitar rift is happily played two octaves above middle C. Hotel California is not meant to be a happy song.
How many of us are trying to live our lives according to what others want, and not how we were meant to be? Do we let jobs, commitments, lack of employment, circumstances, hurts, or acquaintances rewrite the music of our lives to fit their taste? As we try to fit in – try to adapt and survive – has the essential core of our being been muffled?
The message of the Gospel has a different message. Philippians 1:6 – For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. As believers in Christ – our core being has been changed by Jesus – and belongs to Him alone. It is Jesus who saved us, it is Jesus who transforms us, it is Jesus who must determine how the song of our life is interpreted and played. Sometimes that means that the music of our faith is at discord with what the world wants. Sometimes that means that we must change to get the message across – but the essential core of our being will rest steadfastly on the rock of Jesus.
Until the great day of His return, the great Composer of our life will never let His work be overshadowed or changed by the world around us.