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More Than We Deserve
More Than We Deserve
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I heard the Second Brandenburg Concerto played in honor of Bach’s 300th birthday, and I was swept away. I remembered a story about the people who send messages into outer space. Someone suggested sending a piece by Bach. The reply was “But that would be bragging.”

Some say we get what we deserve in life, but I don’t believe it. We certainly don’t deserve Bach. What have I done to deserve the Second Brandenburg Concerto? I have not been kind enough; I have not done enough justice; I have not loved my neighbor, or myself, sufficiently; I have not praised God enough to have earned a gift like this.

Life is a gift we have not earned and for which we cannot pay. There is no necessity that there be a universe, no inevitability about a world moving toward life and then self-consciousness. There might have been…nothing at all.

Since we have not earned Bach—or crocuses or lovers—the best we can do is express our gratitude for the undeserved gifts, and do our share of the work of creation.

About the Author

  • The Rev. Robert R. Walsh is minister emeritus of the First Parish Church in Duxbury, MA., and the author of Stone Blessings: Meditations .

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