Free-Motion Quilting on the Piano

I’m sure there are other people in the world like me, who know what it feels like to play the Lord’s Music. They may call it something else, but that’s the name I’ve given to the way God leads me as I play the piano in an unpremeditated piece of music. It always has a design and sound that I’ve never known or heard before. To play in this impromptu way is thrilling, yet I also feel apprehensive in that special moment before I touch the first key or chord. This makes me trust God and listen carefully for his direction.

I think it feels like free-motion quilting. When I put the feed-dogs down on my sewing machine and move the quilt with my hands, the needle and thread make an impression on the padded fabric. Free-Motion Quilting Flowers, leaves and stars form; hearts, shells or free-form patterns follow in variegated or plain capillaries running over the quilt. My ability to draw is limited, but there they lay, subtly beautiful, imprinted in a unique design.

When I play the Lord’s Music, I have a profound impression that I’m creating a floating picture. I don’t see it; I hear it. I am aware that it’s God who is leading me. They’re his creations that appear under my fingers. I can sense them coming, note by note, chord following chord as they line up to play their part.

If a part suddenly seems out of place or off-key, it doesn’t matter, Jesus the Master knows what’s up ahead and he can repeat it again, turning it into a phrase I hadn’t planned…but he had! Like our lives, the differences are all part of the whole.

I’m always blessed by the birth of these musical expressions. The listener who follows with their heart, allowing their whole being to participate in the movement, will join the Lord and me in a kind of dance. What a thrill it is to embrace God in his creative wonders!

My Beloved PianoThe opportunity to play like this may arise during a Communion Service when the congregation is thinking about the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection. At other times I might be at my own piano, letting the Lord make music for me alone. I feel privileged to hear it and to join him in filling my home with his beauty. I’d love to know about others who do the same.

Here’s a poem I wrote about my experience of playing in this way.  It could help to clarify what I mean when I say:  The Lord’s Music.

there must be others in the world

who sew a picture on the piano at his behest

like water on a quest to fill the scene with wonder

gentle, smooth and grand, bright effervescence

bubbling over the rocky place

free to fill or leave a space

sevenths, minors, augmented, diminished

delightful expectations

teetering treble, rolling bass

black and white bring joy

until it’s finished 

ringing, singing

among the melodies of heaven  

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2 Responses to Free-Motion Quilting on the Piano

  1. Ruth says:

    Love the poem! It is so perfectly descriptive!

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