Years ago, a friend told me a story that changed my understanding and perspective about our identity in God. I pass this true story on to you in hope that you may find it equally enjoyable and even enlightening.
On a sunny day in 1967, a woman went for a walk near her home in Pasadena, CA. She then stumbled upon a violin case on the side of the road. Not being a violin player herself, she decided to offer the violin as a gift to her nephew.
He accepted the gift, though he had no intention of playing. The violin then sat silently in the closet as this boy became a man, as that man met a woman, as that man fell in love with said woman, and as that woman became that man’s wife.
All in all it was twenty-seven years later when this wife, Teresa Salvato, decided that she would learn to play the violin. So, Teresa took out the violin her husband’s aunt found and began to learn.
If we were to have asked Teresa what the value of this violin was, she would have said that she did not know, for she did not know where the violin came from— its identity and maker were a mystery.
So, in hopes to have the violin tuned up, Teresa took it to a music shop. The shop owners, knowing a bit about violins, recognized that this was no ordinary instrument. After doing some inquiries they discovered that this violin had a name. The name of the violin was the Duke of Alcantara.
The Duke of Alcantara is a special name for a person, let alone for the name of a violin. The violin was named after its first owner— a man who had the instrument hand-crafted over 270 years ago by none other than Stradivarius. With this information the shop owners told Teresa that her Stradivarius was worth nearly one million dollars.
This ought to make you wonder, how did a million dollar instrument end up on the side of the road in Pasadena? And here’s how…
The violin belonged to the music department at University of California LA and was loaned to the second chair violinist to be used in a special concert. Now, have you ever set something on top of the car, climbed in, forget it was there, and drove off? Well, that’s what he did!
Stradivarius violins remind us that some things are precious and should be treated with care and dignity. But, what is the difference between the Stradivarius and a generic violin? What makes something so greatly valued?
We know the value of a violin like this because we know its identity, and we know its identity based on its origin. So, could it also be true that our worth as human beings is tied to our identity? And is not our identity only truly understood if we know our origin?
If, like the Duke of Alcantara, our identity, our origin, and our maker are forgotten, then how would we understand the value for human life? Things are valuable because of their maker and if life is only the product of a cosmic accident (blind evolution), then humans have no more value than rocks or worms.
If society loses touch with our maker, we will undoubtedly forget the value of our neighbors, our unborn, our mentally challenged, our disabled, and our elderly. Unfortunately, the world has begun to see human life as nothing more than a generic violin—worth only the value they assign it.
As Christians who know our true identity, and the true identity of others, we must treat every human being with the value they were endowed with from their creator. Let us reflect the truth that even the most lowly and broken life has far more value than all of the stringed instruments in the world.
By Rev. Van Dyken
Do we and our children know the Bible? You might think that this is a foolish question. Coram Deo requires at least one parent enrolling their children to be a Christian. One basic requirement of a Christian is that he or she knows and believes the Bible to be the very word of the Lord.
Although it may interest you to know that some of our children know the Bible very well; not so exciting is that many have very little knowledge of the Bible. You need to be aware that our students’ knowledge of or ignorance of the Bible is a reflection of their home life.
In this page I am encouraging you to become involved in the instruction of your children in the ways of the Lord. They need to know Him, to understand Him, and to know whom they must love and obey. We don’t want His rules and laws, and actions to be an abstract set of ideals, but rather to know they come from a loving and all-knowing God who has their salvation and their welfare in mind.
So what should we do at home? Please do set aside a regular time each day to study the Bible; always to know God in Jesus Christ. You might want to devote your evening mealtime to devotions, including prayer and Bible reading. Or you might want to dedicate bedtime story telling to tell them stories from the Bible. Question your children about the passage or story you just read.
Do not neglect the Old Testament, for it records over 4000 years of the way God spoke, promised, and acted. From there you can know how He thinks, what He likes and doesn’t like, what He does when people trust and obey Him, and what He does when people don’t trust and obey Him. You, as a parent, should really be able to give a short history of the words and works of God from creation to the coming of Christ. The New Testament is built on the Old Testament for it contains at least 1,640 quotations from or allusions to the Old Testament.
What we want our children to have is a Biblical worldview, to see reality through God’s eyes. We aim for them to know how to distinguish the truth from the lie, beauty from ugliness, and goodness from evil. At Coram Deo we can’t do that alone; we rely on you to give them God’s eyes through the Bible.