Saturday, March 26, 2011

Me and My Oboe

It is very hard to put into words what playing the oboe means to me.  For one thing, I am not as involved with music as I was at one time.  My major at Western in Bellingham was music, so during those years I spent many hours every day both studying and playing music.  Since then, I have gone on to do many things, including teaching music at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada.

During the PBI years, I met and married my husband - a fine clarinet player.  :-)  We spent many years in Chile, South America as missionaries.  Our only daughter was born there and thinks that she is a Chilena. 

Music was always an important part of our ministry, but we did not have time to devote ourselves to music per se.

After we returned to the US, I returned to teaching music for several years.  Our travel schedule at this time does not allow me to teach.  What I have been able to do is return to actually spending time playing my oboe.  About 3 years ago I was able to purchase a new oboe.   The one I had served me well, but it has a couple of cracks in the upper joint.  It is over 40 years old, now.  

I began to look at new oboes to buy, wanting one that at least had a plastic upper joint. I did not want to suffer the disappointment of a cracked oboe again.  I looked at Yamaha's instruments, which are very nice.  Then, since they come highly recommended at least here in the US, I decided to try out a Fox oboe.

I fell in love with the Fox.  It plays  freely, which I need.  I suffer from asthma, which makes blowing hard at times.  Growing up with smokers, and then the years of living in some pretty polluted air took its toll on my lungs.  The sound is beautiful.  I lose some of the projection of sound that my old oboe had, but at this time, the playing I do is in church with my husband and in a local orchestra which is pretty small.  I get lots of complements on how beautiful my playing sounds, so I guess that the proof of the pudding is in the eating. 

Also, I hope to take it with me in Nov. when my husband and I, along with a larger team, go into Cuba for conferences.  We would like to play some music.  I have been able to help some of the Cuban church musicians that we know with their supply needs.  Every time I go to Cuba on a mission trip, I take reeds for the sax and clarinet players, drum sticks for the drummers, and strings for the guitarists.  I have also been able to provide a trumpet mouthpiece for one guy, and other repair items for the woodwinds.

My oboe is a Fox 300.  The tropical climate may be a bit hard on it, but I know that the climate changes will not crack it. 

So, even though music is still more of a sideline in my life now, it is still an important part of my life and ministry.  God is good!

As far as reed making goes, I pretty much gave up altogether.  I am able to get decent reeds at a low price.  Even so, I have a bunch of reeds wrapped and ready to carve on, so maybe I'll go back to making my own reeds - and maybe not.

One fun thing that I got to do this year so far was send a back pack full of oboe supplies and music to a young player in Honduras.  I met him through Face Book.  It just so happened, in God's providence, that my husband and the new Latin America director of our mission were heading for Honduras to visit our workers there. They would go through the city where this young guy lives. 

Since I am not teaching anymore, and since I am not studying oboe anymore either, I had a lot of books and materials just sitting around the condo not being used.  I remember how it was being a young player and having a hard time finding music and materials. I had a good teacher, but everything had to be ordered from somewhere far away and was all pretty expensive.

 So, I was able to pass on my blessing of ample supplies and music to another oboist just starting out.  Isn't God good that way?  I am still amazed at how that worked out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Led by the Spirit

Galatians 5:18
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The Spirit of God is the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God is a Person, not a mere spiritual force.
The Spirit of God breathed out the OT Law just as surely as He breathed out the NT.
The law of God is in harmony with the principle of living under the leading of the Holy Spirit.  They are not in conflict nor are they contrary to one another.
The problem is us and our sinfulness.  We are not holy, but God is, and so is His law.
The solution to this dilemma of not being able to live under the law is provided for us.
Christ set us free from the condemnation that came from breaking God's law.
It is  the Holy Spirit who leads us into the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. (Ps. 23)
So much more could be said, but Paul is NOT saying that we are now free to sin. He is NOT saying that the Spirit will lead us in ways contrary to the Word of God.  Some have shipwrecked their faith by thinking that now they can just follow whatever impulse they wish, calling it being "led by the Spirit."

We are now free to follow God from the heart.  Earlier in this passage Paul said that it was for freedom that Christ set us free.  We are free from the law.  We are free from sin.  We are free to be led by the Spirit into all truth.  If we are set free from sin, we will not want to turn back to a sinful lifestyle.  If we are free from the law, we will not want to turn back to a slavish religion.  If we are free to be led by the Spirit, then we will desire the things of the Spirit.  Later Paul gives us the list of the fruit that being led by the Spirit produces in a person's life.
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These are just random thoughts. If you think that I have misunderstood what Paul means here, then please look into it yourself.  There is a double danger.  One is that a person will throw out all law - which is antinomian, a form of moral anarchy.  The other danger is that of legalism, which Paul is refuting here in the book of Galatians.

If one is truly led by the Spirit, then he or she will be moving towards holiness and will be demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit in his or her life.