Thursday, April 4, 2019

Harmony or Cacophony?

When I was studying music in college, I was required to learn how to play several different types of musical instruments--percussion, strings, woodwinds, brass. Even within each class of instruments, I found much variation in size, shape, sound, tone, and pitch. The tones of brass instruments stand out and may even blare; the flute trills, as does the tiny piccolo an octave higher; and the mellow strings serenade. Some are solo instruments, and some are not. Yet, each is essential in an orchestra to make beautiful harmonies.

Corrie ten Boom used to tell the story of the famous conductor, Sir Michael Costa, who was leading a rehearsal with hundreds of instruments and voices. The choir sang at full voice, accompanied by the pipe organ, the roll of drums, and the blare of horns. In the midst of all the din, the man who played the piccolo far up in a corner said to himself, “It doesn’t matter what I do,” and he stopped playing.

Suddenly, the great conductor flung up his hands and brought the rehearsal to a complete standstill. “Where is the piccolo?” he cried.

The piccolo, though the tiniest of instruments, was missed. The same is true in the Church. Though we are all created by God, we too each have unique abilities, talents, and interests. God's "orchestra" needs each one of us in order to play the beautiful harmonies that attract people to Himself. If you are not there, you are missed.

Have  you ever listened to an orchestra tune up? That sound is cacophony, but it is necessary to tune up to the same pitch, concert A. A lady in one of the churches we pastored loved to play her guitar and lead worship. She "tuned to herself," she said. That was okay as long as she was the only one playing, but when we tried to form a worship team, we had cacophony.

As Christians, we must allow the Holy Spirit to tune our "instruments" to His will for our lives in order to be in harmony with God's purpose and plan. We must learn to harmonize together, play the same piece of music, and follow the Conductor. Some instruments take the lead and are in the spotlight while others harmonize--all at the will of the Conductor. When we all blend together, exquisite music results.

God has given the Church gifts of pastors, teachers, leaders, and others who work alongside to "make harmony" in the church community. People who are not in harmony with the leaders do not make beautiful music to the Lord and do not provide a good witness to the world around us.

In an orchestra, not all instruments play all the time. Some play to provide variety, to enhance the melody, or to make a different sound. It is important that all respond on cue to the conductor.

Likewise, in the Church we need to be alert to the needs and quick to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray or minister, to listen and obey. When all the instruments yield to the commands of our Conductor, the result will be a beautiful, harmonious expression of praise to the Lord.

Let's offer ourselves as instruments of righteousness to the Lord.

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