This morning I was listening to excerpts from St Matthew’s Passion by Bach. “Kommt ihr Tochter” (Come ye Daughters). It is a glorious piece of music reflecting on the punishment that the innocent Christ received on our behalf. As with all his music, Bach wrote this for the glory of God. But to do something to the glory of God doesn’t mean it has to be spectacular.
Calvin Seerveld, in his little pamphlet “Christian Workers Unite” speaks of his father as a “seller of fish”. Seerveld describes the haggling over price, the dressing, gutting and cleaning of fish, taking the fish scraps to the dump – he describes, what for most of us, would seem a dirty and unsavoury job. He concludes this anecdote:
My brothers and I at work in the dumps, laughing and struggling, happy to be bodily alive there too: it is like a little hallelujah chorus sung by the South Bay Fish Market, the kind of earthly hallelujah, priestly service, angels fain would sing, but God has reserved for the believing man, (let me add: and woman!) the Christian worker.
It made me think that a true test of the “success” of a Christian life is exactly that – Do I live my life to the glory God? This life is not lived out of any sense that we are trying to earn God’s favour, but rather out of the deepest sense that we have understood, what Bach and Calvin Seeveld’s dad did, that the creator of the universe came down to earth and dealt with our sin on the cross and continues to prepare a Kingdom for his children. That is the motive to give all Glory to God and to sing “earthly hallelujahs!”