The Beauty of Harmony

Thursday, February 25, 2016

orchestra
"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another." 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)

To correctly understand harmony you have to understand how an orchestra works. An orchestra is comprised of many different instruments that all sound different, play in different keys, have different purposes and belong to different sections. The conductor chooses a piece of music and his job is not to get everyone to play the same thing, but to use different sounds playing together to produce harmony. Unison is everyone playing the exact same note together all the time. There are moments in an orchestral arrangement when that happens, but never for any length of time. That would be boring and would lack any musicality. An orchestra is a group of people with different instruments playing different notes together in a way that creates harmonious music. I like to define authentic unity as this: the supernatural ability to create harmony in the midst of discord.

I had the privilege of playing in the University of California, Santa Cruz Symphony and Chorus for their performance of Igor Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms. That is by far one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard or played. I was struck in rehearsal by the fact that as the conductor had each section play a passage alone it sounded horrible. But when you put it all together, this unbelievable sound emerged out of the discord.

That is the picture of unity in the Body of Christ and that is what we are to strive for. God is not calling us to all think exactly the same, dress the same, agree 100% of the time and never have arguments. Harmony is not everyone playing the same part, but different parts coming together. I played third trombone in that orchestra and I practiced my part for two months before our first rehearsal together. Not only was that piece of music extremely challenging, it was difficult to practice my part because, by itself, it sounded horrible. It didn't seem to have any direction or tonality by itself, but my instructor assured me I was playing it right. I remember that first dress rehearsal with the entire orchestra and chorus. This was the first full symphony orchestra I had ever played in and the first one with a full chorus. There were about 75 instruments in the orchestra and at least 100 voices in the chorus. We all began to tune up before the conductor stepped up to the podium and it sounded more like my junior high band than an orchestra. Then the Maestro lifted his baton and began to lead us in what was the most incredible sound I had ever heard. I almost couldn't play, I was so mesmerized. My third trombone part suddenly sounded beautiful and made sense when I played along with that orchestra.

That is the picture of what the Church will look and sound like to the world when we live in harmony with one another. It will stop them dead in their tracks by the sheer beauty of the sound. It will be a sound that is like no other on earth and it will cause them to want to be a part of that orchestra. I wonder if this is what David was thinking of when he wrote Psalm 133. I like how the New Living Translation says it in verses 1 and 3: "How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting." True, authentic harmony unlocks the supernatural blessing of God over his people which brings life.

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