Britain’s Piano Man

I love piano music. It starts my heels clacking faster than a banjo or a guitar any day. So when the announcement came that Elton John was coming to Charleston’s Civic Center, my husband Alan surprised me with tickets. Finally, I’d get to hear Britain’s piano man!

The auditorium was packed and Elton was already playing when we sat down. Sequins  splattered his electric blue suit and he wore his trademark red glasses. I spotted his very sensible black patent lace ups with binoculars.

About the third number, he sang “Levon.”  I love this song and my heart warmed as his piano danced to the words. “Levon! Levon likes his money. Makes a lot they say.” Passion oozed from Elton, flooding the baby grand ivories. Together they made beautiful music. “Oh I’ve finally decided my future lies beyond the yellow brick ro-o-aad.” His foot kicked back and forth toward the audience as he sang. What a performer! On and on, the hits never stopped.

In fact, Elton’s strong, beautiful voice, and the way he romanced the piano, brought tears to my eyes. How can one person have so much talent, a gift given to him by the Giver of all things? So, I asked: “God why did you give so much talent to Elton John?”

Prayer comes easily for me, and gratefully I see God in many things. I certainly saw God in the talent Elton displayed, and so I began to pray for him.

Do you ever do things like that with perfectly good intentions? And then . . .

Okay. I got miserly.

“Lord,” I said, “Why didn’t you give that talent to someone who adores you and would display their love? Like me, Lord. Why didn’t you give some of that talent to me?” As if Almighty God could only bequeath enormous talent to one of us.

Suddenly, a thought came into my mind’s eye—it was an image of a cross gliding across the massive screen behind Elton. I shook it off, but, curiously, that strong image of the moving cross stayed in my head. It would not go away.

Before Elton’s next song, he reminisced about war and the First World War in particular, telling us about all the lives that were lost. It was touching. He was so grateful for freedom, he’d written a tribute to the military he would now play for us.

Never expected this from Elton John.

When the music started I didn’t recognize the song, but on the huge screen behind him dozens of crosses appeared! The crosses from military cemeteries.

They flashed on and on . . .

A single cross flickered across the screen.

More crosses.

Are you kidding me, Lord? Rock and roll music is blaring, as crosses light up the auditorium!

Through much of the song, they lit up ceilings and walls and faces . . .  and, I hoped, hearts.

I still don’t know what the song was because I really didn’t hear it. I had been dancing, clapping, cheering, throughout the entire concert, but now I sat mute, unable to speak at the sight before me. A sight I had imagined a few minutes before come alive to the sounds of secular music.

Tears welled in my eyes as I realized that God always reveals Himself when I invite Him in. “Thank you for being here, Lord. And thank you for showing me that you are with me wherever I am.”

The concert went on and I got back into the groove. But, every once in a while I’d raise my hand to heaven and give thanks to the Giver of all gifts. Tonight he’d given me the opportunity to see another of His children, a rocker whose talent God bestowed and whose music I loved. And whom God can use, just as surely as He can use me.