From the time I was a baby, I have been fascinated by the piano. One of the best baby pictures of me is of me sitting on a blanket on the lawn in front of a toy piano.
When I was about 4-5 my parents would tune into a radio program (before the days of TV!!) on Sunday mornings as we were getting ready for church. The program was The Old Fashioned Revival Hour with Charles Fuller, and featured Rudy Atwood as pianist. Rudy was all over the keyboard and I was spellbound. My mother owned a mangle (now I really am dating myself). In case you don’t know what a mangle is, it featured a large roller that could be set at different temperatures. Clothes were fed into the roller and were ironed. It was especially good for ironing sheets (which no one does any longer!!). There was a ledge in front of the roller so it was easier to feed articles into the roller
I would sit in front of the mangle and pretend that the ledge was a keyboard, and “play” along with Rudy Atwood!! I was all over that ledge and in my mind I was playing just like Rudy Atwood. I was imitating him. When I got a little older, I took piano lessons for many years, and started playing the piano for church when I was 12 years old. It was a small, country church and the lady who had been our pianist moved. Since no one else could play the piano, I was drafted!! I had a list of songs I could play and the person leading the singing had to choose from that list. In one summer I got more proficient by practice and could play just about every song in the hymnal.
My Dad took the pastorate of a church when I was a Junior in high school, and I became the church pianist. My husband entered the ministry a couple years after we were married, and – you guessed it – I was the church pianist. I accompanied the high school choir one year in Plummer, Idaho. I still love playing and am planning to turn my electric keyboard in for a real piano. A keyboard just isn’t the same!!
Ephesians 5:1 NIV says “Be imitators of God, therefore as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The word “imitate” means to follow or mimic. Mimic God when it comes to loving others. God doesn’t pick and choose whom he will love. Scripture tells us that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten as proficient as Rudy Atwood was on the piano, but with practice, I became a good pianist. We can become good at loving others by practice and imitating God. Just as I had many opportunities to play the piano, so there are plenty of opportunities for us to imitate God and “love our neighbors as ourselves.” In fact, we are told 10 times to love our neighbors as ourselves. When God repeats something that many times, we should “prick up our ears and listen. This is an important area where we need to be imitators of God, especially in the time we are living in!!