A Beautiful Duet

by Linda Strickland
Apr/May 2008

I once heard a story about the great concert pianist Paderewski. One evening a mother took her young son, who had just begun piano lessons, to hear this master play. The stage was set simply, with a spotlight highlighting the beautiful grand piano and bench. The mother and her young son found their seats and were anxiously waiting for the concert to begin. As they waited, the mother became engaged in conversation with the person seated next to her and did not realize that her son had gotten out of his seat. Just as she noticed his absence, “Chopsticks” filled the air of the great hall.

Horrified, the mother saw her missing young son on the stage, in the spotlight, seated at the grand piano, smiling as he picked out the tune. “Get him out of there!” came voices from the crowd.

“No!” cried a European accent from the wings, and the great Paderewski strode on stage. “Boy, keep going and I’ll help you,” he said. As he sat down on the bench next to the little boy, he began adding fabulous improvisations – chords, patterns, runs and additional melodies – as the two of them captivated the audience with “Variations of Chopsticks”!

I love to share this story with the students at our School of Healing Prayer®. It is a great example of how, as prayer ministers, our (Chopstick) prayers are small and pathetic on their own, but when the Holy Spirit is invited to come and “sit down beside us,” together we make a beautiful duet.

All through history there have been many great “duets.” There were Lewis and Clark, Rogers and Hammerstein, Abbott and Costello, George and Gracie, Sonny and Cher, Fred and Ethel…well, you get the picture. Jesus demonstrated the value of partnership, as well, when he sent his disciples out into the world two by two (Mark 6:7). He knew they would need each other. He knew what they would face, and that “two would be better than one.”

King Solomon wrote about this in the book of Ecclesiastes (4:9-12) when he said, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three is not quickly broken!”

My husband and I have claimed this particular passage as our life verse for our marriage. We have found that “two are better than one,” but “a cord of three” is even better. Two people make a marriage – but inviting the Holy Spirit to be the third strand of the cord is what makes it work. We’ve tried it both ways, and as the old saying goes – the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

For most people, life is made up of many seasons and changes. One season may find you with people in your life that you can truly call partners – people who make harmony with you in the duet of life. At other times you may experience a season of living and working solo, but for each of us, as believers and followers of Christ, we always have a partner: The Holy Spirit. He is the constant living and active presence of Jesus in our lives.

I pray that whether you are singing life in duet or solo, you will always invite the Holy Spirit to come and “sit down beside you” in everything that you do. And in the words of Paderewski, you will hear the Holy Spirit say, “Keep going and I’ll help you.”

Now that’s a beautiful duet!

Linda Strickland Linda Strickland is the Associate Director of Ministry and Assistant to Judith MacNutt. Apr/May 2008 Issue