We were confronted by some wonderful and powerful verses from God’s Word in last Sunday’s message, "The Chorus of Wisdom." Here are a few of them:
- How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! - Psalm 133:1-3 (NLT)
- May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. - Romans 15:5 (NLT)
- I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. - 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NLT)
Pastor Dave reminded us, "We are called to live in harmony. Each of us is called to sing out our God-given unique part, but to do it in harmony with those around us. Harmony means we listen and blend, listen and blend, listen and blend. We sing our own unique part, but we listen and blend."
He also reminded us of a haunting little problem called, "Dissonance, the exact opposite of harmony." It seems that many people live in dissonance. They go about life singing their own song, doing their own thing, unaware that what they have come to see as "normal" is far from what God is seeking to do in their lives and in the communities in which they live. God calls us to live in harmony. Harmony means putting an end to dissonance.
How do we get there? If Pastor Dave is right, and I think he is, we really do need more harmony in our homes, our marriages, our working relationships, our church, in the body of Christ overall. Not unison, harmony. How do we get there? Whatever the answer to the question might be it is certain that at the heart of it all is a sincere and faithful effort to "listen and blend, listen and blend, listen and blend." We sing our own unique part, but we listen and blend to all the other parts around us.
This is easier to talk about than to do, isn’t it? Remember Rodney King and his famous question, "Can’t we just get along?" Well apparently not, because as dissonance continues its reign, harmony stands on the outside still seeking admission. Why is it this way? Pastor Dave shared one idea on this. It comes from Richard Rohr’s book, Falling Upward:
For postmodern people, the universe is not inherently enchanted, as it was for the ancients. We have to do all the "enchanting" ourselves. This leaves us alone, confused, and doubtful. There is no meaning already in place for our discovery and enjoyment. We have to create all meaning by ourselves in such an inert and empty world, and most of us do not seem to succeed very well. This is the burden of living in our heady and lonely time, when we think it is all up to us.
Rohr does describe our world, doesn’t he? We seem to have lost the wonder, the awe. There’s not much enchanting about life in the real world, and amazement has been holstered and placed into a world that is long ago and far away. And, that is sad because it is as foreign to God’s design for life on this planet as one can get. Jesus came to give abundant life to whosoever would take it. In Him amazement is kept alive, dissonance doesn’t reign, and life is a banquet to be feasted on.
In this light Pastor Dave asked a probing question: Who is conducting your symphony right now? Who is conducting my life, bringing my unique part and me into harmony with all those in my world? We might ask it in these ways, too: Who is Lord of my life? Who is my God? To whom do I yield the role of leader, guide, authority, power?
Pastor Dave called us all back to God and to the magnificent reality that "The fear (reverent awe) of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge" (Proverbs 1:7). The he called us to an awesome walk of faith where each of us is challenged to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7).
Where does harmony lie? Where is the enchantment with this awesome thing called life found? Where does dissonance die, and life take on the heart of awe and wonder, amazement even? Aren’t these things found when you and I live our lives as a part of great symphony lived under the conducting baton of the Master Conductor?
Proverbs 3:13 says, "Blessed is the [person] who finds wisdom, the [person] who gains understanding." This wisdom of which the Book speaks is the wisdom of God. When we live our lives under the conducting baton of God and His infinite wisdom, the influence of His life, His Spirit, His kingdom, His grace, His mercy, His forgiveness, His hope, flow in and through us like a river and the universe once again becomes enchanted.
Maybe that’s why the songwriter began his song with these words, "I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and wonder...”
Blessings on you all,