People come to God from a variety of access points: For some, it is a great sermon that convinces us of our sin, our Creator’s infinite love for us regardless, and our desperate need for salvation.
Others hear God in the song of a sparrow in the garden, in the powerful rush of a waterfall, or in the gentle breeze splashing the waters of a quiet stream along its pebbled shoreline deep within a private forest estate. Still others are introduced to the Lord in the visual of a crimson sunrise, or in Van Gogh’s Starry Night or Monet’s Waterlillies or the colourful palette of a Shilling self-portrait.
For me, music is the vehicle through which my Lord calls me to the cross; He speaks to me in the powerful majesty of a Bach cantata, the gentle precision of a Mozart sonata or the painful nuances of KD Lang’s “Hallelujiah”.
My grandmother, Elsbeth Teschow, was by no means Christian; she would most certainly have fought against such a descriptor, and in fact was quite vocal in her anger towards organized religion, especially Christianity. And yet, Omi was an avid reader, and a lover of nature. When this Grade 5 dropout wasn’t devouring the tomes Dostoevsky or Karl Marx, she was staring into the cloudscapes of her upper floor Toronto apartment balcony, or paging through photo essays of the pastoral German countryside. Her soul was deeply affected by the evil of her homeland’s wartime destruction, and her empathy stirred by the suffering of local people – the poor, the needy, the wheelchair bound, the homeless, those afflicted with mental illness… She did not share in a Christian Community, but she daily suffered the pain and bore the burden of the cross, both in the public matters outlined above, as in the painful, private details not shared in this blog. The question is, did she also receive its redemption?
My grandmother was not a Christian. But, if one believes, as I do, that we stumble upon God along differing pathways, by nature, through literature, in music and in art, then perhaps my apparently atheist Grandmother did know her maker.
I can only hope.