A few nights ago during a long, multi-measure rest in a concert, for reasons I can’t completely remember at this point, I thought of four eyes. I quickly moved from the childish eyeglasses taunt to things more substantive.
Eye No. 1: The One that Communicates (with Music-making Partners)
Surely communication theorists have a plethora of journal articles and graduate research papers devoted to studies of the eyes. An important aspect of communicating with anyone (or any group of someones) is looking him in the eyes—with your active eyes.
Any conductor who does not use the eyes to communicate is not using a crucial tool. Yet it is such an extremely common problem as to be cliché: most conductors stare at the score while they are talking to the ensemble, when giving cues, and immediately after having given cues. Score-orientation is an important core value, to be sure, but the conductor should know the score well enough, and be confident enough, to speak to the ensemble vocally and gesturally without constant visual connection with the score.
The effective conductor will look at the ensemble intentionally and meaningfully during music-making.
These words have been included hymnals:
Watching you, watching you,
Ev’ry day mind the course you pursue;
Watching you, watching you,
There’s an all-seeing Eye watching you.
The song’s inclusion should be embarrassing to generations of churchgoers, if not to the offspring of the poet (who doubtless had very good intentions). No matter how you view God on the judgment vs. grace spectrum, you have to admit it’s silly (and downright counterproductive if one is thinking evangelistically) to think of God as a big eye in the sky.
It’s not that God’s eyes don’t see, of course; it’s a matter of how the reality is portrayed.
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on those who are evil and those who are good. (Proverbs 15:3, NET Bible)
“Keeping watch” sounds different from “an eye watching you,” doesn’t it?
Psalm 34:15, which is quoted, more or less, in 1Peter, has God’s eyes “on the righteous,” or perhaps “toward” the righteous, and His ears, open to their cries for help. The NET Bible renders this “eye” as simply “paying attention to,” and that’s an acceptable idiomatic translation, although the Hebrew and Greek do include eyes specifically.
Here, we might add 2Chron 16:9, which has God’s eyes actively searching the earth in order to bolster those who in turn are seeking Him.
This meditation song wasn’t part of my growing-up years, although I gather it was quite familiar in some circles. I first heard it at an Integrity Music worship conference sometime in the 1990s, and I still have the CD recording (reproduced here) offering Ron Kenoly’s personable voice presenting the song. Part of it goes like this:
I sing because I’m happy.
I sing because I’m free.
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
Now that’s a positive faith-expression. The second half comes loosely from Matthew 6:26f.
If you want to read more on this topic, try this post from Rubel Shelly. If I’d seen his extended treatment first, I might simply have shared his link instead of writing a post of my own!