Not One Sparrow: A Recollection of Peace Through Suffering

From Artistic Director Stephen Morton…
The process of putting a concert together can be a bit odd and selection of music for this concert began in a most unexpected way: the death of my dog, Eddie. The decision to put Eddie down was a difficult one. Truthfully, it was horrible, just as it is for anyone who has to make such a decision. But as is seemingly always the case, good came from it. Like most dogs, Eddie found his greatest pleasure in pleasing his master and when he became very ill and there was no hope of his recovery, I was determined to do what was best for him. He deserved no less. I knew that, even while he was suffering, he didn’t want to be put down. I thought about how I don’t get everything I want and sometimes I get exactly what I don’t want. I thought about how thankful I am for that. So many times, the very thing I didn’t want to happen, did happen. Later, I look back and see that it was the very best thing possible. I just couldn’t see that at the time. That’s how things were with Eddie last summer: he who couldn’t see what was best for him and I had to make a painful decision.
I also thought about how unfair it seemed that, as far as I know, this would be “it” for Eddie. I know about God’s grace and know I don’t deserve it. But Eddie was good and so much more deserving of grace than I am. After all, his greatest joy was pleasing his master. For him to simply cease to exist with no self-awareness, no reward, and no grace, troubled me for several days. Then, one day as I was driving in my car with music from my phone playing, a song came on that I didn’t remember hearing before. The words struck me immediately. It began:
Not one sparrow is forgotten
E’en the raven God will feed,
And the lily of the valley
From His bounty hath its need…
I thought about how happy Eddie had always been and what a great life he had. He was well-fed, loved by my children and me, and had a big backyard with rabbits and squirrels to chase. God had indeed cared about and provided for Eddie, as He cares about the less-deserving, like me.
I’m sure this story will be foolishness to many, but the words I heard that morning gave me a new understanding and renewed peace that all is as it should be. Not One Sparrow was the genesis of this concert and the words of that hymn set the stage for the rest of this concert about life, death, grace, renewal, and the beauty of creation and our place in it. I hope our music brings you peace if you are troubled, solace if you are hurting, and hope for what is to come.