Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

4.27.2012

Marked


Photo Credit

Give me a room full of people, and I can pick out the violinists.  Give me a crowd of violinists, and I can pick out the dedicated devotee from the halfway hobbyist.  It’s simple, really—no magic or mind-reading necessary: nearly all violinists develop a tell-tale mark just under their left jawline.  On some, it’s only a shadow.  On others, it’s a raw, red patch or a bruise.  But the mark—combined with calloused fingertips—is the violinist’s mark of pride and dedication to his art. 

I still remember when my teacher first told me about the mark, and I was in awe: People play the violin for so long that they get a mark!! And then I began to develop a small one, which development I observed with great pride!  Once, when Mikaela and I attended a performance by violinist Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg, she asked Mikaela, "Do you play the violin?"
"Yes," Mikaela replied.
"Let me see your practice mark, then."
Mikaela obligingly turned her head, and Nadja clucked her tongue.  "Oh, you don't practice enough." 
The mark, you see, gives people away as a violinist, and it whispers tales about their dedication to all who are savvy enough to listen. 

Likewise, in the movie Little Women, Jo March’s ink-stained hands gave her away as a writer to Professor Bhaer.  A farmer’s tanned skin and dirty fingernails give his profession away, just as the pocket protector gives the engineer away!  But as I contemplated the phenomenon of the mark last week, the thought occurred to me: Do I have a mark that gives me away as a Christian and reveals the extent of my dedication to Christ? 

Because wouldn’t it be fabulous if Revelation 14:1 were true right now of all of us?

“Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads.”


Would that not be amazing to be able to look around a room and see YAWEH enscribed on foreheads all around?  Having my Father’s name written on my forehead would be a more effective evangelism tool than a Christian sweatshirt or a fish bumper sticker or even a tract.  Just as those who are not violinists puzzle themselves over my perpetual red patch, those who had no idea who my Father was would inquire with curiosity, “What’s that signature on your forehead?” 

“It’s my Heavenly Father’s name, and I am marked as His,” I would be able to tell them.    

It would revolutionize more than evangelism, though; it would revolutionize fellowship!  Those who know my Father could embrace me with love in the bread aisle at the grocery store, even if we had never before met, for we would recognize immediately that we were siblings in Christ. 

Sadly, patience is necessary before this incredible prophecy will come to pass.  Neverthless, even though I may not be emblazoned with the Father’s name on my forehead any time soon, I do see another mark with which I should already be emblazoned.  John 13:35 tells the secret:

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”


Love is the mark of the followers of Jesus Christ!  It may not be as fantastical as having a signature on your forehead, but its very simplicity brings up the toughest sort of questions.  Can people pick me out of a room as a disciple of Jesus Christ because of my obvious love for my family?  Can they tell that I am a dedicated devotee of Christ’s because my love for the unloveable is wholehearted or am I apparent as a halfway hobbyist with half-done love? 

Truth be told, if people can’t see the callous of love on my fingers and the well-worn wrinkles of smiles on my face, it matters not one iota if my tongue claims the name of Christ.  I can claim to be a violinist until the cows come home, but if the marks are not there and, indeed, I cannot play, then I am only a delusional wannabe.  I must be marked—from the inside out. 


Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

13 comments:

  1. Have you guys considered wearing cross necklaces? I know a lot of people who do so to promote their faith. It's a bit less disfiguring than a tattoo as well!

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  2. Great post, Lauren, and convicting, too. "Faith without actions is dead," and Christianity without love is lifeless. Thank you for the reminder and exhortation! :)

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  3. Superb analogy! Thanks for the challenge!

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  4. Oh i loved this. Thanks Lauren!

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  5. Wow! What a great reminder. Thanks Lauren!
    Check out my blog at: gracieshorseyworld.blogspot.com
    I too am a fiddler. :)

    ~ Grace ~

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  6. Excellent analogy!! btw Lauren....how's your violinist's mark coming? :) :). I've started developing one on my shoulder and collarbone too.....:(
    I am doing a recital in June - wish you could come!!

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  7. Wow! I wonder if there is some permanent marker we can use on our foreheads...would you join me? Thankfully there will be a Day when we will just walk along and hug everyone we see because they are our Sisters and Brothers beyond any doubt!!

    Great post, I do take pride on my "marks of life", yet have I ever thought of my "Mark of all Marks"? I pray it will develop so that my Lord doesn't look and say "need more practice"!!!!

    Thanks for the encouraging and lovely post, Lauren!

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  8. Samantha--I do have some cross necklaces that I wear when I get a chance! I love them, and they are a reminder to constantly be following and proclaiming Christ, which is what God uses to change lives!
    Ruthie--Thanks! You are such an example of that love, and I appreciate your selfless giving of yourself to others!
    DebbieLynne-Thank you for your sweet words! How are you doing lately?
    Kaytra--Thank you! It's always encouraging to me to see your comments!
    Grace Mary--Yay, a fiddler! I'm glad you can relate, then, to what I was saying! I look forward to checking out your blog soon!
    Elizabeth--Oh, I wish I could come, as well! Are you going to record the recital? My violinist mark is progressing quite well--it was huge after a concert a few weeks ago! I've never developed one on my collarbone--yikes!
    PrincessR--I look forward to that day when we will be surrounded by sisters and brothers in Christ as well! That is beyond my imagination! I so appreciate your thoughtful comments and application--thanks so much!

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  9. As a violinist, this analogy really hits home! I have a baby violinist mark... it's barely there. Must practice more.
    I need lots more practice in BOTH areas. Thanks for the reminder in which is most important, too.

    -Penn

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  10. Oh man, I love that photo! Beautiful!

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  11. @Mikaela - I definitely will some how record it. I would really like to live-stream it for a bunch of people who can't come, but we'll see if that will work out.

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  12. This is so great! I am going to read it to our youth group! Thank you! and God Bless!

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  13. Monica--Thank you! That's fabulous that you're going to read it to your youth group! Let me know how it goes!

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