Friday, April 19, 2013


As the Adagio from Spartacus began, I was almost tempted to agree with the radio announcer. Right before the opening notes, the announcer had said in that smooth, soothing alto voice common to those in her profession, “Are you having one of those mornings? You know the kind I’m talking about. Do you need a reset moment? Reset, as you listen to this.”

Her words ended and the opening strains of Khachaturian's Adagio, performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, began.

Even as my mind calmed and my heart rejoiced in the music, I couldn’t help but question the announcer’s sentimental words. In all fairness, she was speaking in hyperbole and never intended her listeners to remember or deconstruct. Her words were meant to be a trivial encouragement, promptly forgotten, replaced by the music.

But her words lingered, because she unwittingly spoke truth in that simple encouragement. Her question was common: Have things gone wrong today? Her answer was insightful: You need a reset moment. Her specific solution, though, altogether deficient: Listen to this music and whatever was wrong will be made right.  

The Orchestra continued on, and I reflected upon my own experience of reset moments. The days when life has been turbulent, when fresh starts and resets are crucial, are most often times when sin has played a part. Not always. Occasionally there are crazy, stressful times when life reaches a frenetic pace and it has had nothing to do with either mine or someone else’s sin. But more often than not, when I’m having “one of those mornings” when relationships are breaking, when my children are driving me nuts, when I’m totally stressed out, when life is devoid of peace or joy, it takes but little reflection to see that I’ve allowed the sin of anger, or impatience, or worry, or selfishness, or pride, or envy, or discontent to hold my gaze a little too long.

When I’m being honest, mornings gone wrong are rarely about the specific situation itself and almost always about the specific sin in my heart.

There are days when a reset moment is desperately needed. On that point, the announcer was right. But though a transcendent classical composition might have the power to calm my nerves, slow the pace, or even inspire joy, it will never have the power to reset my heart. Beauty alone, powerful as it may be, doesn’t have the capacity to bring restoration to the soul.

When I sin, there is a fracture in my relationship with God. When I sin against someone else, whether it’s against my kids, my husband, or my friends, there is a break, of some degree, in my relationship with them. Sin not only fractures relationships but, when left, leaves ugly cracks in the heart. There is a desperate need for what is broken by sin to be reset, to be made right.

Wonderfully, there is such a thing as this: new mercies. The reset moment of the heart: confession, repentance, forgiveness. Then in Christ, the slate is wiped clean, the sin forgotten and made no more.

A morning gone wrong, a season gone wrong, even a life gone wrong can arrive at a moment of true faith where repentance brings forth new life. Is there any symphony in Europe that can make music more glorious than the melody of redemption? God’s redeemed people sing with voices adding to the harmony of the ages. And like all God’s people before us, and like all who will be saved after us, we sing of repentance and of grace.
God, be merciful to me; On Thy grace I rest my plea; In Thy vast, abounding grace, My gransgressions all erase. Wash me wholly from my sin; Cleanse from every ill within. ...Then with hyssop sprinkle me, And from sin I clean shall be. Wash me from sin's stain, and, lo, I shall whiter be than snow. Make me hear joy's cheering voice; Make my broken bones rejoice! ~ Psalm 51