If you read my last post it shouldn’t come as too big a shock at a subsequent post would follow the story to the next rehearsal.
I was glad when Sunday arrived. Not only does it mean going to church, it also now means nearly 2 hours of music rehearsal – by myself! Big plug for my husband who is hanging with all 3 kids so that I can indulge my musical side.
While I was happy to be singing, I was looking forward to bell choir. When we got the bells out, I got straight to work highlighting my music. As we are all novices to the bells, our choir director asked us to highlight all our notes to help get everyone on the same page, or measure for you music folk. Each bell is one note, like one key on the piano. By highlighting wherever your note or notes (if you are in charge of multiple bells) appears, it helps keep everyone together. We have three songs for Christmas this year, so we were all a bit scattered as we highlighted. I was absorbed in The First Noel – the bells I have been assigned are used frequently and play important roles in keeping the tune going. I looked up and realized we were going to start playing, so I got ready. 1, 2, 3, 4 Go!
It was so hard! I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t able to find my place. Then, when I thought I had found it, I had completely lost it again. I was counting, I was focused, I couldn’t figure it out. When the piece was finally over, the director looked straight at me and said, “Ok, good, good. Now, Kate, I didn’t really hear the C though.” I glanced at the music stand next to mine. Mine, as you know, said The First Noel. Everyone else’s said “Away in the Manger.” Oh dear. And in that one my missing “C” note messes up everyone! I was so absorbed in what I was doing, that I missed the direction to switch songs.
My ride home got me thinking about that moment. The way I see it, we each are like a bell. Each of us is unique. Some are low notes, deep and warm, mellow and strong. Some are in the middle, brighter and full of life. Still others are in the higher registers, twinkling above the rest, airy and light. God, in his omnipotence, has written into creation a musical masterpiece. Every living thing contributes to the great chorus, dancing across the earth, each singing or playing as God designed. The book of Job tells us:
Now ask the beasts to teach you, and the birds of the air to tell you;/ Or the reptiles on earth to instruct you,/ and the fish of the sea to inform you./ Which of all these does not know/ that the hand of God has done this?/ In his hand is the soul of every living thing,/ and the life breath of all mankind. – 12:7-10
As human beings, we are a part of this musical experience. The difference between us and the rest of creation is that we have been gifted with free will. We get to choose whether or not we want to contribute to God’s masterpiece. We can sound our notes according to God’s sheet of music, creating chords and melodies that God envisioned. Sometimes, unfortunately, because of our brokenness, we will sometimes ring out our sound in a manner that clashes with our neighbors’, creating discordant tones and altering the harmonies that God so carefully laid out.
Other times, we may try to re-write the music that God has so carefully crafted for us. We think that we know ourselves better, that we know where our strengths lie and what weaknesses to avoid. We believe that we can create our own happiness by following the lyrics of the world – “More is better,” “Look to yourself first,” “The grass is always greener,” “Instant gratification is best.”
God tells us over and over again that this is not the way. Seeking to make ourselves independent of God only causes us pain and sorrow. We find division, unhappiness and discord in our lives. We hold up the idols of the world – power, pleasure, honor, wealth – as replacements for God’s love, mercy and forgiveness. It is only when we slow down to hear the music of God, that voice inside of us questioning “Why aren’t I happy? What can I do to be truly happy?” that we can begin to play in time, ringing out our notes according to God’s plan. There, in the chorus of praise with all creation, we will find true happiness and peace.