Play listed

At Christmas this year my wife’s music collection was downsized – literally.  Under the Christmas tree she found a small present about the size of an expensive ring box.  However, instead of opening a gift from Zales or Riddles she unwrapped her own small piece of Apple Incorporated, maker of the MacIntosh computer and the Ipad/Iphone/Ieverything else.  Gail now has her own personalized music downsizing machine.  Her new Ipod nano can hold about 1000 songs in a case the size of a match book.  That’s a lot of music.

We are still are learning our way around the digital music neighborhood.   Our twelve year old is serving as tour guide to the realm of itunes, podcasts, and playlists. I’m most impressed with the idea of a playlist.  A person can become their very own Casey Casem or Rick Dees or whoever programmed the Weekly Top 40 radio show when you were growing up.  A playlist is simply a list of several songs that a listener can bunch together to create his or her own personalized listening experience.

Like I said, we are still new to this technology and don’t quite understand how to make a playlist.  The way Gail’s Ipod is now set up is to play alphabetically by title the several hundred songs that are downloaded on the contraption.  Sorting music this way is a bit disconcerting.  Riding in the car today we were listening to a lilting Calypso tune from the 1950s.  Just as the gentle steel drum pinging ended our speakers filled with the very loud guitars of a 1980s rock band.  Next came the complicated harmonies of several South African women singing in Zulu.

To say the least neither of us is going to be hired as the program director of a radio station any time soon.  I hadn’t realized how much work it is to put together of list of songs that sound good together.

I suppose that effective sorting is a conundrum whenever a person tries to put anything in order.  Whether a person is trying to set a lovely holiday table, arrange the perfect table assignments at a wedding reception, or make sure all the grandchildren get an equal shake in the will, getting things “just so” is a pretty hefty task.

Though most of us rarely think of God as the master playlister, I think the image fits.  If you think about it, God has an awful lot of information to sort through.  I once saw a movie where a human being takes over the job of God for a few days and is absolutely bombarded by the prayers of the faithful.   The premise of the movie made good comedy fodder as the main character promptly messed up the orbit of the moon and several other rather serious matters.  The film made the obvious point that God’s work is beyond us.

Thank goodness that God is constantly at work organizing the ins and outs of our days through a framework of grace and mercy, working with us to create a playlist that sounds right.  And I thought an Ipod was complicated.

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