I Corinthians 2:9 says, “Eye hath not seen nor ear heard…yet.” The first time I heard the magnificent pipe organ I naturally counted the pipes, all 80 of them, and sat back and relaxed, giving all my attention to the Bach fugue (or whatever it was) because I didn’t want to miss a note.
When I joined the choir and sang in the loft, I got closer to the 80 pipes, which were arranged in groups of 5 by color—an iridescent copper and silver. Sometimes the lowest bass pipes made the air vibrate around us.
Startling New Info
One day, the organist gave a recital in a small church with a smaller organ. She chatted between pieces with the attendees, telling us interesting facts about the music and about the organ she usually plays. Each sound the organ produces comes from its own pipe, she said. The 80 pipes were only the tip of the iceberg, for behind them were a whole range of pipes from huge to miniscule, for a total of 5,000* pipes. What? I sat up straighter. She said you could see some of them through the main ones. How come I hadn’t noticed?
The next Sunday at church, I stared at the 80 pipes. Was there room for another 4,920 pipes behind them? I looked more closely at the spaces created by the narrowing of the pipes. Sure enough, there were little glints of metal, vague shapes in the shadows.
I finally remembered to bring my camera for some close-ups. As you can see, the pipes are nestled behind the front ones, some with keys like a clarinet. Who knew?
Beyond What We Can See
My organ-pipe epiphany makes me smile because it reminds me of how little I know, how much there is to learn. We can only catch glimpses now and then of all God has prepared for us.
But as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” (I Corinthians 2:9-10, KJV)
*According to Wikipedia, the largest organ ever built had 33,000+ pipes. The Cadet Chapel at West Point Academy in New York houses the largest organ in a religious structure, with 23,500 pipes.