An Orchestra of Community

I saw an interesting clip on the Internet this week. The Danish National Symphony Orchestra was playing the theme song of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. (You can watch it here.) It was quite a performance!

Pastors often look at the world through "homiletical eyes." We are always thinking about how stuff in life illustrates a Biblical principle. It got me thinking about parallels between an orchestra and Christian community in the Church.

An orchestra can only make beautiful music if everyone follows the same conductor. In the community of the church, that Conductor is Jesus Christ, the head of the Church. A church full of people who are all insisting on their own way will lack harmony, to say the least. A church full of people seeking to follow Jesus and submit to His direction will produce a harmony of love and service that is a beautiful thing.

Every instrument in the orchestra needs a player. Musical instruments do not play themselves. Every player is necessary to the orchestra, or that player's instrument will not be heard. In Christian community, every part of the Body of Christ is necessary. The church in North America has been held back for decades by clergy-ism. Too many people in the pews believe it's the pastor's responsibility to make ministry happen in their church, and too many pastors fall into the trap of believing they must make everything happen or they are not doing their job.

I read about a pastor who retired and built a home high on top of a hill. At the bottom of the hill, two railroad lines crossed each other. When asked why he chose that spot to retire, the pastor said, "I wanted to live someplace where at least a couple of times a day I could watch something go by that I didn't have to push." A church makes the most beautiful and effective witness in the world when every person is using the talents and spiritual gifts God placed in them to glorify God, not sitting back and watching the pastor use hers/his.

While there are times and places in the score for solo performances, or for one section of instruments to take prominence, the quality of the performance is enhanced when the instruments blend together. One should not hear a particular violin (except for a planned solo), but rather hear all the violins as one. In the community of faith, each of us is called to live for the benefit of others, not to stand out and make a name for ourselves. Humility is one of the deepest marks of Jesus, and every follower is being formed and shaped to be more and more like Him.

There are other parallels that can be drawn between an orchestra and a congregation. These are some of the ones that come to mind most prominently. In the interest of brevity I'll stop here and leave us with some reflective questions:

Does my commitment to Jesus result in my commitment to the community of my church? Am I fully engaged in using the gifts and talents God placed in my life for ministry, both within the congregation and in everyday life? Do I insist on my own way, or am I living in harmony as a member of the community of faith? Am I doing my own thing, or living out faith in the company of others who are committed to Christ?

Committed to Christ and to one another, we can make a beautiful witness to the world of God's love. I wonder if the Danish National Symphony Orchestra does Star Wars?

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