In his weekly newsletter last week, Bill Kristol shared this story from the world of opera: “Puccini died on Nov. 29, 1924; when news of his death reached Rome during a performance of La Bohème, the opera was halted, and the orchestra immediately played instead Chopin’s Funeral March.
“Turandot was at that point unfinished—though it was soon completed by Franco Alfano—and that complete version is the one everyone’s heard for 90 years. However, at the first performance of Turandot in Milan on April 25, 1926, conducted by the great Arturo Toscanini, Toscanini ended the performance in the middle of Act 3, laying down his baton and announcing to the audience, ‘Here the Maestro laid down his pen.’”
At some point in your life and mine, unless the Lord returns, we will lay down our pens. At that point, some other person will pick up the pen and continue the work we began. Then again, did we begin it, or did we pick up the pen and continue what was begun by one who came before us?
We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. It is encouraging to remember we stand in line with a great cloud of witnesses, and there will be those who come behind us to take up the pen we lay down. All of us draw any strength we have from the One who has called us to the task.
So pastor, remember you are not in this alone!