Sunday, June 4, 2017

PENTECOST: All The Instruments in God's Symphony

Pentecost 2017
June 4, 2017
Fr. Phil Eberhart


Every Instrument is Important!!



I want to begin this Pentecost morning, by reading again our reading from 1 Cor 12, with a little adjustment:

READ THE 1 COR 12 ORCHESTRA READING:

NOW CONCERNING THE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, BROTHERS AND SISTERS, I DO NOT WANT YOU TO BE UNINFORMED.  ... 

NOW THERE ARE VARIETIES OF INSTRUMENTS, BUT THE SAME CONDUCTOR;  AND THERE ARE VARIETIES OF PARTS, BUT THE SAME SCORE; AND THERE ARE VARIETIES OF SOUNDS, BUT IT IS THE SAME ORCHESTRA THAT WE ALL PLAY IN!  TO EACH INSTRUMENT IS GIVEN ITS MANIFESTATION OF THE MUSIC FOR THE COMMON GOOD. 

FOR TO ONE IS GIVEN IN THE ORCHESTRA, A VIOLIN, AND TO ANOTHER, AN OBOE, IN THE SAME ORCHESTRA. TO ANOTHER A DRUM, IN THE SAME ORCHESTRA; TO YET ANOTHER, A TRUMPET, OR A TROMBONE; ALL IN THE SAME ORCHESTRA!
TO ANOTHER A CYMBAL, TO ANOTHER A BASS AND ANOTHER A TUBA!!  ALL THESE (AND MORE) ARE READING FROM THE SAME SCORE AND DIRECTED BY THE ONE GREAT CONDUCTOR, MAESTRO JESUS!

FOR JUST AS THE ORCHESTRA IS ONE AND HAS MANY MEMBERS, AND ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE ORCHESTRA, THOUGH MANY, ARE ONE ORCHESTRA, SO IT IS WITH CHRIST.  FOR INTO ONE SCORE WE WERE ALL "IMMERSED" -- STRINGS, WINDS, PERCUSSION, AND BRASS -- AND ALL WERE MADE TO PLAY FROM ONE SCORE.

NOW THE ORCHESTRA DOES NOT CONSIST OF ONE PART, BUT OF MANY!  IF THE VIOLIN SHOULD SAY, "BECAUSE I AM NOT A HORN, I DO NOT BELONG TO THE ORCHESTRA" THAT WOULD NOT MAKE IT ANY LESS A PART OF THE ORCHESTRA!  AND IF THE OBOE SHOULD SAY, "BECAUSE I'M NOT A DRUM, I DO NOT BELONG TO THE ORCHESTRA" THAT WOULD NOT MAKE IT ANY LESS A PART OF THE ORCHESTRA.  IF THE WHOLE ORCHESTRA WERE AN OBOE, WHERE WOULD THE STRING SOUND BE?  IF THE WHOLE ORCHESTRA WERE A DRUM, WHERE WOULD THE BRASS SOUND BE?  

NO!  AS IT IS, THE MAESTRO, GOD, ARRANGED THE MEMBERS OF THE ORCHESTRA, EACH ONE OF THEM, AS HE CHOSE.  IF ALL WERE A SINGLE INSTRUMENT, WHERE WOULD THE ORCHESTRA BE?  AS IT IS THERE ARE MANY PARTS, YET ONE ORCHESTRA.

THE DRUMS CANNOT SAY TO THE BRASS, "I HAVE NO NEED OF YOU." NOR AGAIN, THE WINDS TO THE STRINGS, "I HAVE NO NEED OF YOU."
ON THE CONTRARY, THE PARTS OF THE ORCHESTRA THAT SEEM TO BE WEAKER, (THE PICOLLO OR FLUTE) ARE INDESPENSIBLE...  AND ON THOSE PARTS OF THE ORCHESTRA THAT WE THINK LESS IMPORTANT (WORTHY OF HONOR) WE BESTOW THE GREATER HONOR, AND THE SMALLER VOICES ARE TREATED WITH GREATER IMPORT, WHICH OUR LOUDER VOICES DO NOT REQUIRE.

BUT GOD, THE GREAT COMPOSER, HAS SO COMPOSED THE PARTS IN THE ORCHESTRA, GIVING GREATER VOICE TO THE PART THAT LACKS IT, THAT THERE MAY BE NO DIVISION IN THE ORCHESTRA, BUT THAT EVERY PART, EVERY MEMBER, MAY HAVE THE SAME CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER.  IF ONE INSTRUMENT IS MISSING, ALL SUFFER LOSS TOGETHER; IF ONE PART EXCELS, ALL REJOICE TOGETHER!

NOW YOU ARE THE ORCHESTRA OF CHRIST JESUS, AND INDIVIDUALLY MEMBERS OF IT.  AND GOD HAS PLACED IN THE ORCHESTRA, FIRST CHAIRS, SECOND CHAIRS, DRUMMERS, STRINGS, BRASS AND WINDS!  IS EVERYONE A CONDUCTOR?  IS EVERYONE FIRST CHAIR?  IS EVERYONE A BASSIST?  OR A VIOLINIST?  OR A FLOUTIST?

BUT EARNESTLY DESIRE TO PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT IN THE MOST EXCELLENT WAY, IN TUNE AND IN TIME, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE GREAT MAESTRO, JESUS.
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I think you get the idea, right?  God has given us each a part to play - gifts that may be in the list, and some that may not be in the list!  

The important thing about this BODY is that each one is present, each one is practiced, each one is tuned and each one plays in time according to the score and the direction of the maestro, Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

I've tried to stretch this analogy for the Body of Christ to see if it will break, but the more I stretch it, the more I see new revelations and insights.

1. There is only one complete score, the Father has it. He is the great conductor, the Maestro.  We only have a partial view of the whole score, our individual part!  

2.  I must enter into the discipline of the score!  I get my part and I practice my part, I learn my part, according to the instrument I play.

3.  But just learning a part is nothing, if I don't come into the Unity of Tuning.  Being sharp or flat makes the instrument useless, even detrimental to the orchestra!

4.  Finally, being as practiced as a virtuoso, and even in perfect tune is nothing, if I won't play under the direction of the Maestro.  I have to submit my instrument, my practice, my virtuosoness, my first chair status, to the TIME set by the Maestro, for the UNITY OF THE ORCHESTRA TO HAPPEN.  This gives a new level of meaning to verses like:  "Looking unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith!"

Then... then and only then do we have come into AGREEMENT.
SUM PHONEO - to make one sound of many voices.

PS 133 tells us "Behold, how good it is for brothers and sisters to dwell (play) together in HARMONY / UNITY."

It is like the holy, anointing oil poured on the head of Aaron!

It is like the water running off of Mt Hermon, that waters the whole Jordan valley, from the Sea of Galilee all the way down to the Mountains of Zion, and beyond, down to the Dead Sea!

It's there, in that UNITY / HARMONY / SUM PHONEO / AGREEMENT
that the Lord has commanded...
commanded... THE BLESSING

LIFE EVERLASTING!  ETERNAL LIFE - THE LIFE OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, COME AMONG US! 

That is what God has commanded, when we enter into the discipline of the orchestra!!  
Into the agreement that is created when we ...

LEARN OUR PART ...

PLAY OUR PART ...

IN TUNE WITH THE LORD ...

IN HIS TIME, UNDER HIS DIRECTION.

We are a symphony IN CHRIST.

The symphony orchestra isn't nearly as ethereal as the Gifts of the Spirit, but I felt that such a look at the Gifts from a very concrete and common understanding might help us to get a handle on how the Gifts of the Spirit work in real life...
on how the Body of Christ, the Symphony Orchestra of Christ works in real life.

Each one of you is vitally important in God's Orchestra.  Some have smaller voices, some have big booming voices, some are crashing cymbals, and others are quiet flutes.

Each of us plays a role, but we must keep in mind the secrets of the Orchestra,  Tuning and Timing.  We work on our individual parts to get them practiced, even memorized.  But we must submit all our work, our being an individual, our wanting to do it my way, to the tuning of a single note, and the timing of a single conductor, the Maestro, Jesus himself.

May God add to our understanding and to our harmony as we dwell together as His Orchestra, His Body.

Amen and Amen.

Let us pray:

O God of infinite variety and creativity:  We thank You for giving us each a part to play in your great Kingdom work. Help us, Holy Spirit, to be so filled with what You give us that we can play our part with both excellence and discipline.  Help us to look to Jesus, the Maestro,  and to be in tune with His Word, that we may become ONE as He and the Father are ONE, together with you, O Holy Spirit, as you empower us to live together in harmony and to sound together as one, to the glory of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever.

Amen.

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