Born amidst the horror of the 18th century slave trade Joseph Bologne’s life chances were not promising. Destined for a life of servitude on a plantation in Guadaloupe he instead grew up to become one of France’s most celebrated musicians and composers. Handsome, charismatic and intelligent he was skilled at fencing and mixed in the highest social circles. By 1773 he was leading the prestigious Concert des Amateurs and three years later was proposed as the next director of the Paris Opera. He conducted Haydn’s works in front of Queen Marie Antoinette and travelled to England where he met the Prince of Wales.
The fact that Joseph’s life did not play out as might have been expected came down to one thing. His father was the plantation owner in Guadaloupe and rather than disown the boy, he gave him his name. Joseph was now titled Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges and a very different future awaited him.
The possibility of such a profound change in the circumstances of life lies at the heart of the Christian faith and is obtained in a very similar way. The love of a heavenly Father who adopts us into his family, sets us free from the slavery of sin and gives us instead life in all its fulness.