Symphony: people dress in formal attire to observe and even thoroughly enjoy an orchestral performance. Whether coming with a group of friends, a significant other, or perhaps just yourself and your love for music, there is a unique draw of a symphony that is difficult to place. Simply entering the building begins to build the anticipation as the attendees clack their high heels and dress shoes about the hallways and eventually head towards their seats. The ushers begin to notify those outside in the hallway that the symphony is about to start and the last of the audience trickle in to find their places. Small chatter is soon silenced and followed by a large sea of standing applause as the director enters the room. Another pause of silence. All eyes on the director, especially those of the orchestra. His hands are raised; the instruments soon follow. Then with a large and elegant swoosh, the sounds of the symphony wholly captivate the room’s attention. Looking across the ocean of musicians, one can see the waves of instruments raised and lowered. The violin section goes up, trumpets go down, various percussion instruments occasionally splash along the edges, but as a sound…completely in synch.
I watched and listened with enthrallment upon my first official symphonic experience. Perfect harmony. It was unmistakable. When the song was happy, they sounded happy. When the song was sad, they sounded sad. Each person pouring out their heart and soul into their individual instruments, yet coming together to create this grand melody. Romans 12:15-16 says “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Wow…does that not strike you as riveting beauty? It does to me. Think about it for a minute. When the Church of Christ focuses on the Director, rather than ourselves, we are able to play in perfect symphony with each other. 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 talks of the divisions of the church. People are speaking of the different men who they follow rather than the Christ who has come to save them. Starting in verse 4:
“For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”
Just as each has his or her own own instrument in the symphony, so does each child of God have his or her own God-given craft to fulfill a unifying purpose. Each has a gift that God has given as a blessing and tool to glorify Him. There are no unnecessary or unimportant instruments. Some are heard louder than others; nevertheless, all are heard.
Another thing worthy of pointing out about the orchestra was their sole passion for the here and now. The stressful morning or the lack of sleep or the excitement of the party later on that night could not steal away an ounce of focus from the musicians during the show. Sometimes it seems as if people sacrifice the moments happening right now because they are weighted down by an afflicted past or even because want the future so badly. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t look forward to the future. On the contrary, the future is the greatest hope of the children of God; however, God wouldn’t have given us “now” if “now” wasn’t important. And anything that is important to God, needless to say, is essential. On the other hand, people may be so focused on the now that the end result is unimportant to them. This, I would imagine, could relate to a musician who is so focused on his or her individual performance at the sacrifice of the performance as a whole. Worrying about precise execution, timing, and even how one looks will be of detriment to the rest of the group. In 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 Paul beautifully says, “I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” Wow, wow, wow. Paul is weak. We are weak. Without paying constant attention to the Director, we will fail. We will not be in synch and we will not be united, for Christ is our unification. Christ is the reason that we are not divided between Paul and Apollos. Think about the Church of Christ coming together in perfect symphony, each focused solely on the Director and the purpose He has given them. What a beautiful picture. “So then, no more boasting about men! All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God” (1 Corinthians 3:21-22). Praise the Lord!