‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile.
We value people by what they look like, how they present themselves, how they behave. The violin was nothing to look at.
People may appear worth-less. The drunkard in the doorway, the illegal immigrant, the teenage tearaway, the pregnant prostitute. Unnoticed, dusty, out of tune lives that are of little value.
The violin is the worth-less life that is seen differently. It doesn’t just have potential. It is beautiful and valuable as it is.
Then wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loosened strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet,
As a carolling angel sings.
For some this is personal.
Failure, disappointment, abuse, bad choices and bad luck have left them feeling use-less, value-less and out of tune.
And then dust is wiped off, strings are tuned and their lives are given ‘a melody pure and sweet’. They remain battered and scarred but that is OK.
Some would specifically identify the old grey-haired man as Jesus, who puts their lives back in tune and gives them value.
And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.
May the old violin be Jesus himself?
Neglected, considered value-less by most, ‘despised and rejected by men’. Battered and scarred, he waits to be picked up and played – so that his beautiful melody can be heard and his true value discovered.
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never can quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.
‘The Touch of the Master’s Hand’ (sometimes called ‘The old Violin’) was written in 1921 by Myra Brooks Welch (1878-1950)
If you want to read the whole poem see yesterday’s musing
Musing… Does the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 shed a different light on ‘The Old Violin’? Can the old violin be both me and Jesus?