There’s something about listening to great music that seems to touch deep within my very soul. I especially love to listen to, and attend, symphonic performances. Earlier this year, my husband and I had the distinct pleasure of transporting the Bruckner Orchester – Linz around the country. This orchestra is composed of 110 extremely talented musicians from all over Europe (and the world), and is the concert orchestra for the state of upper Austria. All in all, we got to spend 18 glorious days transporting the orchestra’s precious instruments (including a rare Stradivarius violin), all across the country from New York City to San Francisco, and parts in between. And, we were treated just like we were a part of this very prestigious orchestra. Of particular delight to us was the ability to sit in and watch rehearsals, meeting and talking to the musicians, spending time with the orchestra’s administrators, and chatting with the conductor (it turns out the the conductor’s sister, is married to a minister, and we know some of the same people – it’s indeed a small world). But the most delightful part was that we were able to attend five performances of the orchestra.
Before the performance starts each musician takes their seat on the stage and begins to warm up their instrument. What you hear is something that is not always super pleasant and easy on the ears. There’s almost complete disharmony. It certainly doesn’t sound like the kind of music that anyone would like to listen to. But when the concert master stands up, the orchestra members cease playing their random warmups and focus their attention on making sure that their instruments are in tune. Then comes time for the conductor to take the stage, and the musicians eagerly await their turn to start playing the music, upon the bidding of the conductor. They watch the conductor with rapt attention, ready to respond to his/her direction. The instruments are ready, the conductor signals, and the music starts.
The music is written in sections with each instrument playing different notes. Each type of instrument plays a different part of the tune. First violins play a different part from the second violins, cellos play a different part than the basses, trumpets play a different part than the French horns, and so on. And the individual parts, when presented by themselves, seem to be unremarkable or perhaps even insignificant.
But when all instruments are playing their individual parts simultaneously the music takes on a progression of sounds that instead of competing with one another, they complement and enrich each other. Harmony and melody combine to amplify the agreement of notes that surges through our very senses and captivates us. We are transported into a wonderful treat for our senses.
But, the symphony is nothing without all of the components. You need to have the musical score, you need to have the individual instruments, you need to have the individual musicians, you need to have sectional parts, you need to have the conductor. If you miss any one of these components you can’t have an orchestra. No one part is greater than the other.
Our Christian faith is much like an orchestra. If you can picture God as our conductor I would like to complete our “Christian Orchestra” image. Each of us are one of the musician members, and our talents are the instruments by which we can deliver the sweet harmony and melody of God’s love to others. Each and everyone of us have a part to play in delivering God’s symphony to others, with no one part more important than the other.
God has gifted each of us with His gifts of the Spirit to enable us to fulfill His symphonic overtures to the world. And, we as a reflection of God’s love, will want to use these gifts to reflect Him, and draw others onto Him. We don’t have to be full time missionaries in the far reaches of the earth to play our part in God’s symphony. In fact, most of us won’t. But, we can play our sweet music right where we are. At our Church, in our neighborhoods, or at our workplace.
All you have to do is keep your eyes on God, use your gifts that God gave you, and play out your sweet musical score. Be an instrument.