(One of our friends, David from the Warden’s Walk, is sharing this experience with us as a guest post. Thank you, David!)
In the autumn of 2008, I studied medieval history and literature for three months at the
University of St Andrews, Kingdom of Fife, Scotland.
Secretively ducking into the wood-paneled hall with the grand piano, as I’m wont to do after
dinner to work on my songs alone—especially now that it will be fully dark outside by five
o’clock and the window panes fill with an amber light from the wooden chandeliers—I notice a
tall object standing against the piano bench.
It is an orchestral harp.
Quietly I close the door behind me, and smile; long have I wanted to play the harp, as my
namesake the king of Israel did so long ago. And there it stands, silent in dignity, a simple
roughness to its wooden frame giving it a more tangible reality than the gold-plated ones
that sing with orchestras. An empty case lies nearby. Who would leave such a magnificent
instrument unattended? Who else has found this dark, seldom-used dining hall a fit place for
musical practice? Never mind such questions, they stand in my way. Whatever its story, the
harp is a gift, a gift for this moment. The magic fairly radiates from it.
I cross the wood floor and step on the dais. I sit at the piano bench’s end and gently pluck a harp
string. It rings clear, like the voice of a bird of heaven. I play a key on the piano, but it clashes with the lingering harp tone. Moving steadily up and down, I work each note one by one. The harp is tuned to B minor. What a wonderful key.
Tonight I played the harp.
I do not ask where it came from, nor where it is going. I do not particularly wish to know, for I
am just glad it was there. Perhaps it will be there tomorrow. If so, I shall try to play it again. If
not, then I will still smile, for tonight, the harp… it came to me.
My heart is steadfast, O God;
I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul.
Awake, harp and lyre;
I will awaken the dawn!
I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the peoples,
And I will sing praises to You among the nations.
For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens,
And Your truth reaches to the skies.