(re-post from Oct 2006)
I was a karaoke queen, long before karaoke was invented.
It started in elementary school. Where we started to sing in unison. “BORING” ……. unison singing was boring. We all sang the same notes at the same time. (kind of) I wanted to make music, not noise with a bunch of little kids. (Somehow I missed that I was a noisy little kid…) I practiced. I screeched and sang in my bedroom. I was seriously intent on being noticed above the unison fray. I waited for someone to notice my amazing pipes. I waited to be “discovered.” I wanted to take the stage and be a star.
I wasn’t. But I didn’t give up. I got older and moved my “studio” to the basement.
I spent (way too many) long hours in there, in the unfinished basement, of our little ranch- belting out tunes and dreaming of being discovered. I dreamed of singing onstage.
The truth is: no amount of practice would ever make me a star. I just don’t have that kind of voice.
My “singing”, eventually escaped the basement. I joined, (yes, I really did) CHOIR in high school. My dreams of solo singing went un-fulfilled. (I was more of a “mostly”on key, not really great tone quality, second soprano kind of girl.)
I could read music. I could hold a part, but solo singer? I was not.
That is when I learned the joy and necessity of harmony.
WOW. What a difference. Even my small voice- could actually be a part of a great sounding harmony.
Harmony is when a number of people are singing the same song, while at the same time, they are each singing individual, and often times different, notes. The music blends to create one “harmonious” sound. Much richer and more beautiful than the unison music we’d done in elementary school, or the basement re-verb I experimented with so often.
As a Christian, I’ve sometimes confused God’s desire for us to live in harmony, with wanting us to live in unison. I’ve thought that – in order to be singing the same song, we must be singing the same note at the same time. .
Is that true? I don’t think so.
“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
What if God understands harmony? What if God isn’t calling us to live in unison, but in harmony with each other? Now- don’t get me wrong- we absolutely must be singing the same song.
The Gospel of the one and only way to heaven, the Risen Christ.
That’s the song. No negotiating there. But, what if there are a number of different notes that are to be played? At the same time? Creating a harmony of faith.
There are lots of issues that divide and separate Christians. I wonder what would happen if we spent more time working on harmonies. Instead of practicing for our solos.
Maybe the world would hear our song, and respond, to the beauty of God’s orchestration, if we learned to hold our own notes- without overtaking the notes of others.
Sure- there will be clinkers along the way. Notes that need to be refined- retuned, or removed, because they are not singing the same song. They strike a discord.
But- I gotta believe- the same God who created the universe, with all it’s diversity and varied beauty, sun and shadow, texture and sound, would he really prefer a unison chant? Or a Harmonious song?
I don’t have the answers to where the lines are- I don’t write the music- I just do my best to hold my note…. But- I know who does…
Dear lord- I pray for your wisdom, I pray for your Spirit, to fill us with an understanding of what are dischordant notes, and what are notes of the same song- sung in harmony. I pay that the Body of Christ would love each other- and learn to sing in harmony- each one holding the part you’ve given them, while blending with the notes of others- I pray that we would be wise as serpents and gentle as doves… that we would know where to draw lines and where to respect differences- I love you Lord- amen.