We Are the Music Makers
Without exalting all the particulars of the film, or advocating movies in general, I must confess that I adapted this blog title from a line in the original Willy Wonka movie (1971). The scene involves the character Veruca Salt making a snide comment about Wonka’s “lickable” wallpaper. Wonka squeezes her face, turns her face toward his, and then says very firmly, “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
I realize it is just a line from a movie, but I’ve often thought about it in light of our Christian lives and witness. As children of God, and as those who possess His “DNA” (via the Holy Spirit’s regenerative work), we are children of the One who is the living source and origin of all things. Romans 8:16-18 tells us:
“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
The apostle Paul refers to Christians as the Lord’s ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). Christians are also characterized as “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people” who proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9). As ambassadors of Christ, children of God, a chosen generation, and a royal priesthood, would it be incorrect to assert that we should be the music makers, and that we should be the dreamers of dreams? Wouldn’t it be accurate to say that we (born-again believers) should be the most compassionate, innovative, and the most intuitive people on earth?
Due to my fascination with the 18th and 19th Centuries, I’ll list a few examples of Christians who made significant contributions during those eras.
- Alessandro Volta (1745–1827): Italian physicist who invented the first electric battery. The unit Volt was named after him.
- James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879): He is known for his contributions in establishing electromagnetic theory (Maxwell’s Equations) and work on the chemical kinetic theory of gases.
- Asa Gray (1810–1888): His Gray’s Manual remains a pivotal work in botany. The preface indicates his adherence to the Nicene Creed in concerning these religious issues.
- Louis Pasteur (1822-1895): French biologist, microbiologist and chemist renowned for his discoveries of the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation and pasteurization.
- James Prescott Joule (1818–1889): Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work. This led to the law of conservation of energy, which led to the development of the first law of thermodynamics. The SI derived unit of energy, the joule, is named after James Joule.
This list represents a miniscule amount of the thousands of significant contributions in all disciplines (law, economics, psychology, etc.) made by Christians throughout mankind’s existence. If we agree that Christians are recreated in the image of God (i.e. via the born-again experience), then what “music” [literally or metaphorically] is the Lord of the universe desiring to bring into the earth through us? What dreams will our Heavenly Father give us to build upon in order to make a significant contribution to our fellow man?
We must keep in mind that along the way it’s important that we never give in to the worldly temptation of accomplishing things simply for the credit. Many Christians of past centuries were regarded as unusual, and they were not given the credit they deserved until after their deaths. Christians shouldn’t be chasing accolades. We should provide contributions for the purpose of being a blessing in the world and glorifying our God. Nevertheless, I pray that we will humbly adopt the idea that as children of God, we are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.
I will conclude with the source of Willy Wonka’s statement. It is from a poem entitled, Ode, by Arthur O’Shaughnessy.
We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams;
World losers and world forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
With wonderful deathless ditties
We build up the world’s great cities.
And out of a fabulous story
We fashion an empire’s glory:
One man with a dream, at pleasure,
Shall go forth and conquer a crown;
And three with a new song’s measure
Can trample an empire down.
We, in the ages lying
In the buried past of the earth,
Built Nineveh with our sighing,
And Babel itself with our mirth;
And o’erthrew them with prophesying
To the old of the new world’s worth;
For each age is a dream that is dying,
Or one that is coming to birth.
Dr. Jeff Canfield’s background and experience includes six years in the Army National Guard, eight years in municipal law enforcement, and seven years working directly with delinquent youth. Jeff has served faithfully in pastoral ministry since 1999. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois Police Training Institute, Rhema Bible College, and holds a Bachelor’s in Religious Science, a Master’s in Applied Theology, and a Doctorate in Ministry. Jeff is also the author of over fifteen books including two novels. Most importantly, he has been married since 1989 and has two grown children.