Keep In Tune

Grandpa was tuning his guitar, and David was watching carefully. David thought the pretty cherry-wood sides of the guitar looked so shiny and clean after Grandpa polished it with a soft cloth. It was a Spanish guitar with six strings pulled tightly over the hollow base and down a narrow piece called the neck which held a screw that each of the six strings were wound around. Grandpa would pluck a string with his finger and then play a note on the piano. Then he would turn a little on the screw that held that string. He would pluck the string again and touch the same piano key again until he said they blended in tune. Finally David asked a question that was puzzling him. “Grandpa,” he said, “how do you know which way to turn the screw? Sometimes you turn it in and sometimes you turn it out.” Grandpa smiled. “In music, David, a note has to be exactly the note it is meant to be. If one note is too high, then it is not in tune with the other notes and it is too sharp. If the note is too low then it is flat. I have to turn the screw in if my guitar string is too sharp and I turn it out and tighten the string if it is too flat with the piano. That way when I play chords on my guitar while the piano is playing the same notes, we will make pretty music together.” David’s eyes sparkled as he thought about the pretty music he loved to hear as the guitar and piano were played. Maybe this was the secret of why it sounded so pretty. Grandpa seemed to know what David was thinking. “Only instruments tuned together can make pretty music,” he said. “If someone else wants to play with us, they will need to tune their instrument with ours. If a note is out of tune, it will not sound good and hurt our ears.” “You know, Grandpa,” David said thoughtfully, “that reminds me of a song we sing in Sunday school. It says: ‘Whisper a prayer in the morning. Whisper a prayer at noon, Whisper a prayer in the evening, To keep your heart in tune. God answers prayer in the morning, God answers prayer at noon, God answers prayer in the evening, He’ll keep your heart in tune.’ ” “That is a nice song, David,” said Grandpa as he strummed on his guitar strings. “If we will pray to God throughout the day, then He will make pretty music out of our lives. That is the way to keep faith singing in our hearts. Let’s name the strings of our heart: faith, hope, love, joy, peace, contentment. Let’s keep these strings in tune with God’s Holy Spirit. Now,” added Grandpa, “sing to me your song again and I will try to play the guitar with your singing.” “Whisper a prayer in the morning, Whisper a prayer. . . .”

—Connie Sorrell from ‘The Beautiful Way’

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