People Aren’t Hammered Dulcimers

Bet you read the title and responded, “Well, duh!”

Or maybe you wondered what a hammered dulcimer is and whether it had anything to do with alcoholic beverages.

Let’s start with a hammered dulcimer. It is considered a percussion instrument. It looks like a big box with criss-crossed strings. To make the sound come from the instrument, the player hits the strings with a mallet (or hammer). You can go out to Youtube and see any number of instances of hammered dulcimer pieces. My personal favorite is a Rich Mullins piece (why yes, yes, he is deceased), Calling Out Your Name.

If you visited the video, you know that the hammered dulcimer produces a sweet sound. It has an initial tone of the strike, followed by a decreasing string vibration. I wish I could give you all the music theory and acoustic science, but I’m not there yet.

That said, people are not hammered dulcimers. You cannot produce sweetness, goodness, and light in people by striking them.

Spanked children don’t learn that they broke rules and can choose better. They only learn that violence gets them what they want, that they have no power to challenge authority (just or unjust), and that they have no personal space. In addition, spanking is linked to sexuality in some cultures, so pain and pleasure become linked in a disturbing way.

A slapped woman doesn’t learn that she is loved enough to have better expected of her. She learns that she is unloved, and her ideas and words have no value. Silence is safer, and she learns to deceive those around her into thinking all is well.

Belittled teens, slapped by nasty names and ugly adjectives, don’t learn to be productive, contributing members of society. They learn to silence themselves, hate their thoughts and feelings, and try to be an invisible as possible.

Without the healing of Christ, humans hammered by physical, verbal, and emotional blows make noise of increased medical costs, decreased tax base, and decreased participation in society. There is no music at best, and silence at worst.

People despised and avoided him, a man of pains, well acquainted with illness. Like someone from whom people turn their faces, he was despised; we did not value him.

In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered; yet we regarded him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God.

But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him, and by his bruises we are healed.

–Isaiah 53:3-5 [Complete Jewish Bible]


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