Few moments in my musical memory compare to the thrill I experience as a pianist the privileged times I lay my fingers on the Bavarian spruce keyboard of a Steinway grand.
Whether professional artist, aspiring student, worship leader or homespun Liberace, these premiere instruments respond to your touch with unbelievable sensitivity to produce unparalleled sound. Feeling your fingers dance across those 88 magical keys will make even an average player feel like a virtuoso.
In the fascinating documentary film, Note By Note, director Ben Miles followed the creation of one of these remarkable instruments, L1037, from the mill in Alaska where wood for the soundboard was hand selected, to the stage in New York City where the piano was masterfully unveiled in a magnificent performance.
One message quickly surfaced in the story…everything about a Steinway is handpicked and handcrafted.
From the selection of specific planks of Adirondack hard maple, Bolivian mahogany and Alaskan Sitka pine to the specialized animal-friendly plastic used for the keys, every piece is handpicked.
Whether it is the fire of the O.S. Kelly foundry in Ohio that pours a steel plate capable of handling the 20 tons of pressure exerted by the strings, or the temperature-controlled conditioning of the 18 layers of maple which have been shaped by the patented rim-bending process, every aspect of its construction is done by hand.
Solid spruce is crafted as a diaphragmatic soundboard. Tensile Swedish steel and fine copper are woven into strings. Teflon bushings and seamless brass tubes are carefully integrated into the metallic action frame so the keys glide effortlessly. Braces are bent and doweled into place. Bridge assembly is chiseled with wooden mallets. Finishes lacquered and polished. Multiple master tuners prepare every piano for delivery. All of it, by hand.
Over 12,000 parts are assembled by nearly 300 people in a painstaking year-long process that boasts 126 patents, yet has changed little since the 19th century. Many workers spend a lifetime perfecting their particular craft as part of this intricate system of design and construction.
Few things on the planet are made this well. Even fewer can rightfully claim that they are handpicked and handmade from start to finish.
You are among that elite group.
You are handpicked: “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world…” (Eph. 1:4)
No matter what rejections come in life, we live in the exhilarating reality that we are handpicked by God. Not because of who we are, what we have, who we know or where we come from. He chooses us on mercy alone.
Paul makes a big deal out of the fact that being moral, following the rules or being on the religious inside does not impress God. He calls, woos, pursues and rescues us. Then He gives us faith to believe all of that. It is all His doing.
We do not choose God. He chooses us.
You are also handcrafted: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10)
He takes a nobody and makes somebody special–each delicately and uniquely created. Every one formed and forged to specifications held deeply in His eternal heart of love. He chooses us because it delights Him to envision what we can be. He changes us because it pleases Him to form us into what He dreamed.
And, He creates from us–individually and collectively–a people to make His name famous and honored on earth. “You are a chosen people…God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
We are specifically selected by God to be part of His-story.
Handpicked…just as we are.
Handcrafted…into much more than we are.