Opinions Mon, 18 Mar 2013

The master was here and i didn’t recognize him…

Pedagogy holds strongly the view that story telling is a very effective way to impart knowledge that will be remembered. The master teacher, the Nazarene knew this and so when he walked this earth he taught in parables, knowing the stories will be handed down through generations. Here is the story…..a true story.

More than ten score years ago, the great Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris was given a grant to construct the finest organ for the day. Weeks and months passed whilst every one waited anxiously for that day when the matchless organ will be played for the first time.

The day arrived and of course a great celebration was organized with the Cardinal Archbishop presiding over a special ceremony of consecration. After the blessing of the organ, the choir, at the signal from their conductor, stood up and the cathedral organist, one of France’s greatest musicians, took his place at the console. The bellows were worked, the processional for the mass began and suddenly music filled the great cathedral.

People gasped and were agog with amazement, even as they were momentarily awe-struck as the great organ poured forth the most magnificent, mighty and scintillating sounds ever heard in the world of music.

At the conclusion of the mass and the recessional, there was dead silence. The congregation was reluctant to leave, hoping to hear more of the powerful organ music. Just as the organist slid from his bench, a tall, aged stooped-shouldered man in black cloak approached him, bowed low and asked if he might have permission to play the great instrument.

The surprised organist could not believe his ears. He immediately refused. What! Did this stranger not know the instrument was irreplaceable? He and he alone was allowed to touch it.it was absolutely out of the question, preposterous, an absurd request. The old man touched the arm of the organist as the latter turned away, and pleaded softly: “I have come so far...from Germany…just to see this organ. I shall never be able to come again.”

The organist was about to deny the request once again but something in the old man’s pleading eyes stopped him.it was the sad look in the old man’s eyes and his pleading voice that caused the younger man to hesitate and then ask: “do you know how to play”. The old man assured him that he did, that he would not play for long and he would ever be careful. With mixed emotions…apprehension and curiosity. The organist gave permission and ordered the men to work the bellows .the old man bowed, sat at the console and for minutes marveled at the tiers and beauty of the instrument. Then suddenly he struck both hands on the keyboard and again the hearts of those still present jumped in a moment of magnificence, for music rolled and thundered forth with such strength and speed and majesty that the previous music of the morning was made pale and weak.

The old man played as though possessed, his eyes sparkling through tears of joy. When he finished he lowered his head, exhausted and sat quietly for a few moments as though in a prayer of gratitude. Then leaving the console, he paused before the stunned cathedral organist ,bowed low, expressed his great gratitude and made his way through the crowd as the people fell back to clear a path for him.

Regaining his composure the church organist ran after the old man caught him by the arm and asked: sir, who are you?’’ My name is Bach, John Sebastian Bach, “was the reply. And he was gone. The cathedral organist dumbfounded, turned to the crowd and exclaimed: imagine the master was here and I didn’t recognize him.

How often do we as Christians,Moslems and other religious behave like the organist.do we recognize the master each day as we pass by the homeless, the hungry, the poor, the sick, the physically challenged…all those less fortunate than ourselves? Perhaps we need to be more attentive lest someday, the master may pass and we wouldn’t recognize Him.

Michael Dale-Asiedu,


Columnist: Dale-Asiedu, Michael