Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2021 Blog Number 8
February 22, 2021
Don’t Touch That Piano!
One of the most beautiful things I ever saw as a child was a grand piano that my Aunt Rena had. It was a grand piano, not a baby grand but a grand piano. She had the right house for it. It was a big beautiful house in the wealthy town of Westfield, NJ. I so wanted to hit those keys but I was forbidden. Whenever I tried I got a finger in my face and was told in a stern, loud voice, “don’t touch that piano.” The sin was that no one touched that piano. It belonged to my late uncle who, I was told, was a rather accomplished pianist. I never met him but he sure had a wonderful piano. It sat in Aunt Rena’s large living room untouched. It was a shrine and would have been better off in a museum.
At church I loved hearing the music of pianos. These were upright pianos and a bit battered. They certainly did not have the charm of Aunt Rena’s grand piano. I went to hit a key on one of those and got the same reaction. “Don’t touch that piano,” I was told with a finger in my face. “No one touches pianos unless they know how to play.” It was years later that I began to wonder how one learns to play if one can’t touch a piano without knowing how to play.
When I first met my wife’s family I was intrigued and joy-filled by their after-dinner tradition. They gathered around their piano and sang hymns together. It seem to be a perfect way to give thanks for the wonderful meals that my mother-in-law was so good at cooking. I realized how joyful piano music could be. I also was startled by the contrast that at their house I could touch the piano and was even encouraged to while growing up I was forbidden.
Years passed and now I live in a house with a piano that my wife plays. My two grandsons like to “bang on the keys” as well. I’m doing things differently than my family. I don’t forbid them from touching the piano. I encourage them. I want them to know the joy of creating music. I think it is a sin to forbid a person from exploring the making of music.
Just as a side note, in this time of Corona with more time at home I decided it was time to go back in time and begin to hit those piano keys. Pam picked out a key of C tune that I practice with. I pretty good at it, although it is only with one hand. Soon I’ll be proficient at “Eternal Father Strong to Save.”
I encourage everyone to make music. It is a great way to praise God. You will never hear me say, “don’t touch that piano.” I think that saying such words is a great sin. Touch that piano, play that piano, and praise God while you do it.
To read more of Pastor Mark’s writings, please order a copy of his book: https://deepriverbooks.com/books/the-circle-of-seven/