The following is written by Steve Strombom of Enumclaw Nazarene:
My CD collection has fallen prey to that awkward transition of old tech to new. A year ago, it was taking up too much space. Solution: remove all the discs from their cases, stuff them into a couple of large CD binders, start ripping MP3s off everything and put the cases in the attic.
But now we’ve sold the house and those cases have come back down from the attic. Stupid to keep hauling them around with us, right? So the binders of discs will stay with us to avoid copyright infringement, but the empty cases are going away.
So as my wife and I watched internet TV a few weeks ago, we started stripping all the inserts out of the cases and cracking open the backs (ever done that?) to remove that hard-to-get-at piece of paper in the rear and make them ready for either Goodwill or recycling. (Extra points for her volunteered, complaint-free assistance in this matter – this is the same wife who has said from time-to-time over the years: “I don’t know why you can’t just listen to the radio.”)
My inspiration for this column came when, just a few CD cases away from completing the task, I opened one of these cases and read the words “A Message From Virtue” (Virtue was the name of the music group). The artists had each signed their pictures, and included a message urging us to nurture and teach our children in the way of Christ. They warned us that we would otherwise face a grim future and, finally, they recommended the efforts of a particular ministry in this regard. It was truly a good and important message.
But I may be the only person who ever saw it. It was sealed under black plastic, only to be discovered when I broke the case apart.
Back in the day, when I was aspiring to produce a musical work of my own, I remember how much cooler the “see-through” cases were, but also remember the increased costs should an artist opt to use them. In the case of Virtue, someone decided to save on costs and, in the process, their message got lost.
It may be old tech now, but CDs really aren’t that bad of a metaphor for our own lives. Something protective is needed for the inner contents of our lives, almost like a case, but it has to allow access. Souls, like CDs, are built for endless encounters with light, but are very delicate when it comes to how they’re handled. Yet if they’re not handled they are pointless.
People are overhearing bits of the “music” in your life. And just like hits on the radio, draw the listener to investigate the artist; if the snatches of music in your life are sweet enough, meaningful enough, or moving enough, they’ll come for a closer look into your life. The “cover” will open. At that point, will they find the message you want them to find. Or will it be obscured by busyness or shyness or something else?
There’s a cost to being clear and transparent, but it’s worth the price. If you have an important message to share, don’t make people break open some hidden compartment of your life in order to discover it. And if you don’t yet have an important message to share… let’s talk about Jesus.