Listen up – gift of life brings music to our ears

Published 12:00am Saturday, January 18, 2014

A pregnant woman was admitted to the hospital with appendicitis.  The doctors began procedures to treat her and suggest that she abort her child.

“They told her it was the best solution because her baby would be born with some disability. But the young brave wife decided not to abort, and the child was born. That woman was my mother, and I was that child.” Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli told about the circumstances surrounding his birth on a television program a few years ago. You can watch a clip from that program on YouTube under the title, “Andrea Bocelli – My Life Story.”

The international opera star, who has sold 70 million records worldwide, praised his mother for choosing life, “Maybe I’m partisan, but I can say that it was the right choice, and I hope that this could encourage many mothers who sometimes might find themselves in difficult situations.”

An article about Bocelli published in a London newspaper reports that soon after his birth in 1958, he was diagnosed with congenital glaucoma, which made him partially blind.  He lost all his vision at age 12.  He did have a “disability.”

A young teen conceives a child as a result of a sexual assault. The baby – a girl – grew up in the slums of Philadelphia and neighboring cities. Raised by her grandmother, she seldom lived anywhere more than a few weeks or months. But the girl began singing in her church and performed for the first time during an amateur night at a Philadelphia club on her 15th birthday

Ethel Waters went on to act and sing in Vaudeville, in movies, and on television shows.  Her biography says she became the first African-American star of a national radio show.  She was the second African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award.  She was the result of an unplanned pregnancy!

Later in her life, she recorded several albums of gospel music, including her favorite hymn, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” Waters sang that hymn at numerous Billy Graham Crusades. I can still hear her voice when I think of the words of that hymn.

Speaking of hymns, one of the most important people in the history of hymnody was the 15th child of a preacher and his wife in England. The family was very poor and would have another mouth to feed.

But the 15th – John Wesley (1703-1791) – translated German and Latin hymns into English. He edited and published the hymns written by his brother, Charles, who was the youngest and 18th child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley. The brothers were the founders of the Methodist church.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once wrote, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Mankind is made in the image of our Creator God. According to Genesis 1:27, God “created man in His own image.” I cannot imagine a world without the music that has come from the pens and voices of these people. The gift of life brings music to our ears.

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