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In 2007 the Washington Post decided to try something unusual.

A reporter wanted to see what would happen if they hired a world-famous violinist to play during rush hour on a Washington, DC subway platform. Would anybody notice? Would anybody stop and listen?

So the Washington Post hired Joshua Bell, one of the greatest living violinists. Bell has a number of best-selling albums and has played in packed concert halls around the world. He thought the idea would be fun and he agreed to do it. 

One morning he put on jeans, a sweatshirt and a baseball cap and went into the DC subways at rush hour. He unpacked his most prized possession – a $3 million Stradivarius. He started playing Shubert’s Ave Maria and other famous classical pieces. He played for over an hour. No one stopped to listen. One little boy paused, enthralled, but his mother quickly pulled him away. 

A few people threw in pocket change as they hurried by. Not one person stopped to listen to the most beautiful music in the world being played for free by a most gifted musician on a $3 million Stradivarius. For the hour Joshua Bell collected $52.17 in spare change. 

A week ago Sunday in the Gospel reading we heard God the Father speak from heaven: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.” God the Father was speaking about his Son Jesus, but God was also saying that each one of us is beloved as well and we should listen to one another.

In the elevator, at the store, on the sidewalk, and at the dinner table I look at the person next to me and I witness who or what is so beloved – THE SMART PHONE IN THEIR HAND! No wonder they didn’t see the most gifted violinist or hear the most beautiful music in the world.

 I’m beginning to wonder if I’m not witnessing the beginning of a new movement in the history of humanity. Has the device in our hand become the “new cave” into which we are all crawling back into?

How soon into YOUR day today did YOU pick up YOUR smart phone?


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