Maybe you’ve seen this video before. If you haven’t, here it is. Joshua Bell is a virtuoso violinist. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia regarding an experiment The Washington Post conducted:
In an experiment initiated by The Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten, Bell donned a baseball cap and played as an incognito busker at the Metro subway station L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. on January 12, 2007. The experiment was videotaped on hidden camera; of the 1,097 people who passed by, only seven stopped to listen to him, and only one recognized him. For his nearly 45-minute performance, Bell collected $32.17 from 27 passersby (excluding $20 from the passerby who recognized him). Three days before, he earned considerably more playing the same repertoire at a concert. Weingarten won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for feature writing for his article on the experiment. The Washington Post posted the video on YouTube.
Here is the video:
All except seven people missed this opportunity. Why?
Here are a few thoughts:
- Some people don’t like classical music. Would the results be different if the music were more accessible?
- May people are not familiar with classical music. They listen to it (I like classical music) but are unfamiliar with who is who. If people were familiar, maybe more folks would have stopped to listen to something that will likely not happen again.
- People don’t expect a virtuoso violinist to be playing in a train station. While the performance was really good, it was just another guy playing in a public place looking for something.
- They are busy people with places to be, deals to make, people to see. Life is hectic. Go, go, go all the time. Who has time to stop and listen.
- The people that created the experiment could not imagine that people would not be stunned by Bell’s performance. What if they took time to consider what people really like and understand (maybe they did)? Instead of imposing their understanding on other’s and deeming their behavior as a sad state of affairs, they would have noticed something different.
I’m sure there are more reasons. These came to mind when I thought about it this time because I have been in a couple of conversations about Scripture and Theology where some of the people in the conversation had no doubt what Jesus said, believed, and commanded. Then I heard the video played on a podcast. What if we miss Jesus because he is not doing what he should be doing? He doesn’t look like he should look. He doesn’t say what he should be saying. He isn’t loving the people he should be loving.
In short, we miss him because Jesus is playing beautiful music in the wrong place at the wrong time for us to recognize his beauty.
What might keep you from seeing Jesus in your life?