We went to the symphony the other evening. It was an incredible performance, featuring a 29 year old pianist from France. Both of us were mesmerized by her awesome talent and by the way she and the orchestra mixed and matched each other, with their musical lines intertwining into a beautiful tapestry of sound.
Listen here to “Viam Dei” composed and directed by Jeff Lippencott on the album “Glory to the Holy One”.
You will notice that each instrument plays a critical part in the overall musical score. None is wasted. Some are louder to be sure, but even the little triangle can lend its tone to the beautiful message being created by the entire orchestra.
But, although I have been to a number of concerts over the years and have always seen this happen, what struck me the other evening occurred before the conductor stood on the platform and raised her baton. It even occurred before the conductor was on the stage.
As the instrumentalists arrived on stage, they warmed up by practicing various points in the music for the evening, each one running through spots that likely caused problems for them. The result was a cacophony of sound, not a unified melody or harmonic chord. The Concert Master, the title for the musician in the position of first chair violin, walked onto the stage and the musicians stopped, silence – no sound from the orchestra.
The Concert Master pointed to the oboe player and a clear, pure tone was heard wafting over the instrumentalists. The various instruments were then tuned to the tone of the oboe.
Whether or not that tone was pitch perfect somewhere else was relatively immaterial (although I suspect it would have been on pitch anywhere, given the skill of our musicians). The point was, it was to be pitch perfect here, at this point in time, so the musicians tuned their instruments to that pitch and that pitch alone.
No one said “I’m going to use my pitch! It’s better!.” If that had been the case, there would have been discord among the instruments. All of them needed to be tuned to the same pitch so that the resulting musical presentation would be in harmony.
Later, when a piano was rolled onto the stage for the featured instrumentalist to use for her Concerto, the Concert Master played a note on the piano and the orchestra tuned to that instrument. After all, it would not do to have the instruments tuned to the oboe if the oboe was not in tune with the piano.
As I was listening to the musical presentation, which was incredible by the way, I was thinking about how each of the instruments blend together to create the glorious music which we were experiencing.
How like the Church, the Body of Christ. Scripture teaches us that we are to work together. We all may have different gifts, talents, interests, abilities – but we are all part of the same Body and our role is important. Remember the triangle – the percussionist who plays it plays a number of other fascinating instruments in the percussion section and the triangle is by no means the most important one. But, somewhere deep in the midsection of the piece, there were two measures where the triangle was called for. He stood and the little triangle was held high, struck the appropriate number of times, and then returned to its hook (or whatever it hangs on) until the next time it was needed.
The instruments that required tuning were all tuned to the same pitch. In the Body of Christ, each believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is to be tuned to the same pitch as well.
- Each and every one of us is to look to the Word of God, the Holy Bible, as the message we are to proclaim. We read what Jesus said and what we are to do in the Scriptures, so it is imperative that each of us knows the Bible and that we each study it as our guide for living the life God desires.
- Each and every one of us is to look to the Holy Spirit for our guidance, for our message, for our strength and for a proper understanding of the Scriptures.
Remember that Jesus said He would send the Spirit to be with us:
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
John 14:26 ESV
How would my life be changed if I tuned myself each day to the Scriptures? How would my church be changed if each member tuned themselves each day to that which the Holy Spirit directed them to say and do? Unity of mind and of purpose is desired and of paramount importance throughout the Scripture.
“A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”
Psalm 133:1 ESV
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.”
1 Peter 3:8 ESV
And in Ephesians 4 Paul writes that believers should walk worthy of the calling to which they have been called.
How is that walk?
We are to live with humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another in love, because we are eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Ephesians 4:1-6.
This week, remember the orchestra and the oboe. Tune yourself with the Scriptures and walk in faith in the unity and bond of peace with your brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Father, enable me to tune my heart to the tone of the Holy Spirit so that I will reflect the image of my Lord and Savior. May my life be fueled by the Holy Spirit and may I walk in Your way, today and each day that You give to me.