My son practices piano every day. He does it without being reminded now. In the beginning, I had to direct him to the piano, and at times, it was a struggle to get him to be compliant. He has come to find much joy in playing it, and has even sought out music to play, in addition to his required lessons.
My initial thought was that piano would help him improve small motor skills, in an expressive and artful way, something he was having difficulty with in school. He, of course, didn’t know that. To him, I was asking him to play piano, when he found more pleasure doing other things. As a parent, I was trying to make a growth experience something he may at some point enjoy. I wanted his obedience in this matter, when he could not understand or recognize the merit in the task.
It makes me think of postures at Mass. We are directed as a church to sit, stand, kneel etc, during certain times of the Mass. Recently our Bishop instructed us to remain standing through the reception of Communion, as an act of unity. Well, this was not well received by several, because they feel compelled to kneel. I get that too, it’s what we’ve done for years, decades, and it seemed right to me also, to kneel. I have to say though, that recently, I’ve come to see things a little differently.
Our country is so polarised politically right now. We can’t agree on anything. As a matter of fact, if something comes up, opposite points of view are expected. I think if Democrats and Republicans would agree on something, our nation wouldn’t know how to react. Is this simple act of unity, as a directive from our Bishop, more important, than the pious act of kneeling during Communion? I now believe that obedience trumps piety, hands down….and this is why.
When Jesus was found in the Temple, In Luke chapter 2, He said to his parents, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” Of course he would be in His Father’s house. This is the greater thing right?…to be in the temple in Jerusalem of all places, praying and teaching. After all, “all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers.” So what did He do next, this 12 year old, who “astounded” those in the temple with His wisdom? “But they (his parents) did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart.”
Jesus had just spoken to the hearts of so many in the Temple. May I use the word again, He “astounded” them. But, Jesus chose obedience. Jesus chose obedience, over astounding His children in the Temple.
This is the only story of Jesus in His childhood in the Bible. The only recorded story of the child Jesus is a lesson in obedience. It gives me a new perspective of obedience, and I suppose of piety also… Jesus chose obedience, over astounding His children in the Temple.