Jump Start # 3249
Philippians 2:2 “make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”
The other evening it was off to the symphony for us. It was featured to be a grand performance, Beethoven’s classic Fifth. Most have heard how it starts, “Da-Da-Da-DAAAA.” The place was packed. As I was watching and listening, a wonderful little lesson about unity came to me. Among the strings, there are violins, violas, cellos, all sitting among each other. Then the flutes, clarinets, trumpets, French horns, trombones. The large basses are on one side, the percussion in the back. Very organized. Each musician has his own score and plays the notes that he is supposed to.
To make all of this work, they must play follow the score and play their instrument at the proper time. There are times when some are not playing. There are times when it blends together very well. There are moments when one section has a more important or prominent role than others. But together, it makes for a wonderful, wonderful piece of music. UNITY.
And, that very example is helpful for us as we think about our fellowship and getting along with one another. We all have a piece to play in this. Some have a more prominent role at times than others. Some remain quiet while others are playing their part. As in the orchestra, we see in the congregation, it’s not about who played the most notes. It’s not about who had a solo. It’s not about who was recognized. Together, it becomes a masterpiece. That seems so simple when it comes to classical music. But somehow, when it comes to the church, things get messy.
Someone doesn’t get the attention that he feels he deserves. Now he is upset and letting others know he is upset. Another feels that some get more time than he does. He’s been keeping track of all of this. Now he is upset and letting others know. Some do nothing publicly. Some seem to do something publicly every week. Some seem to think there is a pecking order, and those that have been around the longest ought to have their voice heard first and the most. Some newer folks have ideas that they have seen in other places. Those ideas are fresh and exciting. Some don’t want change. Now, this is life in a church.
Put those same things back into the orchestra. The trumpet wants more attention, so he plays and he plays very loudly, but it’s not time for him. The strings get upset about first chair and second chair and some of them walk out during the piece. The kettle drummer way in the back is hardly noticed, so he begins banging loudly on his drums. No one is following the score, the conductor has lost control and the music is loud, chaotic and sickening. If that happened, I doubt there would be any applause at the end. If that continued, the orchestra would fall apart, people would leave and no one would be buying tickets.
Musicians are known to have egos. Some have very big egos. Yet, to play in orchestra, they must follow the piece written. And, as disciples, if we are going to have a fellowship, we must follow the words of Jesus. Our verse today echoes the thoughts of unity. The apostle says: same mind, same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. That purpose for the orchestra is playing Beethoven’s Fifth. That purpose for us as a church is to glorify God. Same, same, united and intent—simply play the notes before you.
Here are some reminders:
First, leave your ego at home. Better yet, put your ego out with the trash. You don’t need it anymore. You are a follower of Jesus. Don’t be expecting shoutouts, pats on the back or praise of any kind. Together, we honor Jesus. Same. Same. United. Intent. Don’t be a hold out. Don’t be a rebel. Don’t try to blaze your own trail. Don’t be unique, different or one of a kind. We need to be stirred and stirred, like paint in a bucket until we are all blended together. Don’t get upset if someone sits where you normally do. There are no assigned seating. Sitting somewhere else will allow you to talk to some that you often do not get a chance to.
Second, our attention needs to be upon honoring Jesus. How can I help people see Jesus? Am I standing in the way? Am I distorting the picture? What’s the best part of worship? The singing? The Lord’s Supper? The prayers? The preaching? The Fellowship? How about Beethoven’s Fifth? The strings? The horns? The conductor? Or, is it all of those blended together? The best part of worship is Jesus. Jesus in the songs. Jesus in the prayers. Jesus in the preaching. Jesus in the Lord’s Supper. Beginning to end, it’s Jesus.
Third, my wife is the musician in our family. Sometimes, she’ll learn over and whisper, the tempos off, or someone missed a note. I never catch that stuff. I’m still trying to figure out why the wood on some cellos are darker than others. And, in worship, those with a trained ear may catch a mistake here or there, especially if I’m preaching, but does that ruin the entire setting? It doesn’t for my wife. Many times when we go to the orchestra, she will tell me that she has played that piece before. For me, I’m the visitor, hearing it for the first time. And, such it is in our worship. The preacher might mix his passage numbers up, or have a typo on the notecard and the trained eye catches that. But we give that a pass. We don’t allow those things to ruin the atmosphere of worship. Anyone who has stood before an audience, especially a large one, realizes that he might get things mixed up a bit. We must not allow those things to take away from the overall praise of the Lord. And, like me in the orchestra audience, there are visitors among us and we must not ruin the experience for them.
Same-same-united—intent. Great words. Works well in the orchestra and it works well on Sunday morning in the church house. Working together—that’s the key.