Midweek Message: Hearing Music in the Mundane

Midweek Message: Hearing Music in the Mundane

Dear Hyde Park Family,

In 2007, Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten wrote an article about a fascinating social experiment involving acclaimed classical violinist Joshua Bell, widely regarded as one of the finest musicians in the world.

Bell has performed in some of the most prestigious concert halls, commanding hundreds of dollars per ticket to hear him play. But in 2007, his venue was outside a busy metropolitan subway station in Washington, D.C. Instead of wearing perfectly appointed concert attire, he wore jeans and a t-shirt and a baseball cap.

The question was this: If one of the world’s greatest musicians played some of history’s most beautiful music, but did it in a most ordinary setting, would anyone notice?

Leonard Slatkin, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, was asked what he thought would happen. His guess was that if a thousand people walked by, there would be 75 to 100 who would stop and take time to listen, and 35 or 40 who would recognize the beautiful quality of the music. He also predicted about $150 in his donation jar.

Slatkin’s prediction was way off.

A thousand people did pass by—1,097, to be precise. But not a single person stopped to notice the wonder of Bell’s music. And he collected a measly $32 and change.

But there was little Evan. Three-year-old Evan Parker was walking alongside his mother Sherry at 8:30 that morning, running late for an appointment. She walked briskly past the violinist with Evan in tow. And as the video would later show, every few steps, Evan kept turning back at the violinist, staring at him to see and hear the music. Even as his mother kept rushing him along, even using her body to block his line of sight, Evan kept craning his neck to catch more of the wonder that every other person seemed willful to ignore.

Sometimes, it takes a child-like perspective to capture the wonder in the ordinary.

The poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning once wrote,

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.

I don’t know what this summer holds for you. Hopefully, it is filled with times of rest, renewal, and time with loved ones, even amid your hard work and busy schedules. But don’t just “sit round and pluck blackberries.” Be more like little Evan, and less like the 1,096 people who missed a chance to experience wonder and beauty.

Don’t miss the opportunities in the next several weeks to open your eyes and see the wonder of God all around you.

Next week I hope to do that, as I spend time in beautiful Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, preaching and teaching at the United Methodist Music and Worship Arts Week. I would love your prayers for the six sermons and three workshops that I will be offering. But most of all, pray that I won’t miss the chance to catch the wonder of God, even amid my work.

That will be my prayer for you. That you would hear God’s music in the mundane, and be filled with the beauty of God.

Grace and Peace,


The Rev. Magrey deVega, Senior Pastor
Hyde Park United Methodist

Thank you to the many people who have signed up to serve the 400+ children attending Vacation Bible School next week. Most of our volunteer slots have been filled, but we could use a “deeper bench” of people willing to serve multi-purpose and back-up roles. This is a perfect way for anyone who has never served in children’s ministry to serve in a non-imposing but vital way. Help make a huge difference in the lives of children and sign up here.


As I do every summer, I will be taking some weeks off in July from writing the Midweek Message. I’ll resume writing them again in August. Prior messages can be found here.

Vacation Bible School 2019

Vacation Bible School 2019

Registration continues for some age groups of this year’s Vacation Bible School. Our theme is “ROAR!” where we learn that life is wild and God is good!

Volunteer with VBS! There are still 50 spots left. Don’t wait. Let us know now that you can help here.

June 24-28 at our Hyde Park campus. To see current availability, please visit our VBS web page.

Special Offering for Kids Camp and Mission Fund

Special Offering for Kids Camp and Mission Fund

Special Offering for Kids Camp and Mission Fund

Make a difference in the life of a child by sending them to camp, Vacation Bible School or on a mission trip! A special offering will be taken at all services on Sunday, May 5 for the Kids Camp and Mission Fund.

This fund provides scholarships for children and youth with financial needs to attend Church Camp, Youth Mission Trips and VBS. Many of the children that receive the scholarship are part of Hyde Park United Methodist, Metropolitan Ministries or the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home. The funding for these scholarships comes solely through donations.

You can donate to the Kids Camp and Mission Fund as an addition on your church offering envelope (designate it as “Camp Fund”,) by using the Special Offering envelopes found in the Information Racks around our Hyde Park campus or online now.

Seeking Stillness: The Practice of Christian Meditation

Seeking Stillness: The Practice of Christian Meditation

We don’t experience much silence in our lives. This retreat provides an opportunity to gather together and pursue an inner quiet.

This Seeking Stillness retreat is for anyone wanting to experience silence in a busy world: from life-long practitioners to those just beginning to explore meditation. The event features a talk and instruction from Carl McColman, contemplative writer, speaker, retreat leader and host of podcast “Encountering Silence.” This retreat will teach contemplation, centering prayer and a variety of different methods, including meditation’s Christian foundation.

Carl McColman is a prolific author and Lay Cistercian who helps people reclaim the heritage of Christian contemplative spirituality through teachings of the Christian mystics, the practice of silent prayer, and the revival of ancient practices like Lectio Divina.

Time/Date/Place: 6-9 p.m. Friday, March 29 and 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, March 30.

The Portico – Community Room
1001 N Florida Ave.
Tampa, Florida 33602

  • Friday evening only $25 (per person)
  • Friday evening and Saturday with lunch $49 (per person)
Florida Restores – Disaster Recovery

Florida Restores – Disaster Recovery

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since Hurricane Irma. For many, a lot has changed. For many more, the challenges remain overwhelming — as they continue to struggle with recovery.

THE CORE – Remembering Our Values and Who We Are

THE CORE – Remembering Our Values and Who We Are

Our shared values are important – to us as a church and to us individually.

Each week in our current worship series, “THE CORE: The Center of Who We Are”, we are learning about each of our core values: Christ Centered, Biblically Rooted, Warm Hearted, Open Minded, Mission Directed and Connection Committed.

Download the “THE CORE” reference card (pdf)

Magrey deVega describes “the center of who we are” at Hyde Park and what it means for us to live out our core values as a church in this six-minute video.

[youtube width=”500″ height=”250″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yETz_kDFDs[/youtube]

More about Who We Are at Hyde Park United Methodist.


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