Hidden Greatness

Joshua Bell is a world renowned, Grammy award-winning violinist...

Dave Gobbett and Matt Bownds | 12:15, 02 December 2018

Classicmusic [Public domain], from Wikimedia CommonsJoshua Bell is a world renowned, Grammy award-winning violinist. He has entranced audiences in concert halls all over the world. People pay hundreds of pounds to watch him play on his £2.6 million Stradivarius violin. A genius and virtuoso in his field.

Yet on 12 January 2007 the Washington Post employed Mr. Bell for an experiment. Exchange his white tie and tails for blue jeans and a baseball cap; the bright lights of the stage for a dirty Washington DC subway station; and have him busk some of music's most difficult compositions. 

The Washington Post called it "a test of people's perceptions and priorities". Would people perceive the presence of greatness? Would they make stopping to listen a priority? Short answer: No. Over the course of forty minutes, amid the hundreds of people passing by, just seven paused to listen, and only one person spotted him. (You can easily see the experiment on YouTube.) 

"it was a strange feeling that people were ignoring me."

Joshua Bell reflected on the experience "it was a strange feeling that people were ignoring me." Christmas reminds us that rather than keeping himself at arms-length from society, withdrawn away in his divine glory, God became one of us as Jesus Christ. Born in dirty poverty, a refugee on the run, Jesus exchanged honour for shame, heaven's fame for earth's worst.

At Highfields Church we're committed to spreading a passion for Jesus. Like fans of a great maestro, who society has passed by, we long for all our friends and neighbours to get to know the Christmas baby, and listen to his captivating, life-transforming message. We'd be delighted to welcome you to one of our carol services this year!.

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