My one and only love

I’ve recently been listening to the genius Oscar Peterson’s jazz CD “We get requests” in the car a lot. Today I stopped to notice how utterly delighted I am every time I get to the end of the third track My one and only love (a beautiful love song sung by Frank Sinatra among others), and Peterson blithely plays the opening theme of Jesu joy of man’s desiring by JS Bach. It just fits so beautifully right there. One short, simple quote of that distinctive opening melody.

Have a listen here:

The lyrics of the original song include the immortal line, “…every kiss you give sets my soul on fire”. Well, this is pretty much what my faith means to me. Jesus, the joy of all humankind’s deepest longing, bends low to offer each of us, whoever we are, such a tender, loving kiss, with no selfishness in it at all. It is pure delight.

Oscar was not only a brilliant jazz pianist. He was also a very accomplished classical pianist, who apparently insisted that all his students learn to play JS Bach. So maybe this melody just dropped itself under his fingers one day at the end of this number. But I wonder whether he ever consciously considered the one and only love of God, or whether perhaps he experienced a little joyful tingle at the back of his neck, as I do when I listen to him playing it…?

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