27th January 2018

Harmony In God’s Orchestra 

“…that they may become completely one, so the world may know…”
John 17:23 (NRSV)

Last week I wrote about God’s Orchestra and how Christians are all a part of it. God’s spiritual orchestra has people of varying abilities playing different sorts of instruments. Paul lists them in I Corinthians 12. You may not be very good at your instrument, but God does expect us to do our practice. He wants us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

Have you ever thought, though, what this orchestra must look like and sound like to its audience, the society in which we live? Does the audience hear all the parts as though they were all one, playing in harmony? That, in fact, is what should be happening, but very often isn’t.

As we have seen, the orchestra is made up of many players. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ” (I Corinthians 12:12 NIV). These many members are grouped according to their contribution to the whole. There is a section devoted to 1st violins, another to 2nd violins, to violas, cellos, and so on. They sometimes even play different tunes or solos, but within the overall song. And each section has its section leader. They are the liaisons between the sections and the conductor.

The sections should all harmonise, but what happens if they don’t? If there is a breakdown in communication between the conductor and the sections? I have seen this happen occasionally in human orchestras. But in God’s spiritual orchestra? All too often sections, which can be likened to different Christian Denominations, decide they want to re-interpret the conductor’s directions. The Holy Spirit doesn’t always get listened to. The audience not only sees, but also hears, the results. The One Body of Christ fractures into even more denominations, and these become further divided. Even congregations split. It has been going on ever since Christ founded His church. It gives the audience cause for some humour. “Look at all these different Churches arguing. And they’re supposed to be united!”

Thankfully, the director of the orchestra, the Holy Spirit, has not lost control, and many Churches are losing their discord and overcoming what divides them. They are coming together and that, too, is noticed. In some cases, one church’s building is used by another church for worship and this unity leads to joint activities.

Each year there is an international Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This is an ecumenical activity in which many churches in an area unite for common worship. Grace Communion International in Watford, for example, is involved in this event through Churches Together. Let’s present Christianity as a harmonious orchestra with every section and instrument playing God’s song together.

Loving Lord, may I willingly follow the direction of Your Holy Spirit wherever He leads me.

Study by Christopher Reeve


About the Author:
Chris Reeve is assistant pastor of the Invicta (Blean) Congregation near Canterbury, which is part of Grace Communion International/Worldwide Church of God UK, where his wife, Hilary accompanies him.

Local Congregation:
Invicta Fellowship
Blean Village Hall
School Lane

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11.30 a.m.

Local Congregational Contact:
Mrs Annette Woods
Phone: 07473 188326
Email: annettewoods2@nhs.net

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