(I'm sitting on an enormous stage filled with performers. I'm surrounded by beautiful music. From what I can see, the musicians are all in a state of intense anticipation. When they're not playing, they're all looking in the same direction: toward the conductor. I can't quite make His face out, but He seems to really be getting into it. I've never seen anyone stroke the beats quite so energetically! There's so much to take in. When I look back at the performers, I'm shocked to see what they're wearing. Some of the men and women are dressed formally, as I would expect from the ornate hall that we're sitting in. But the vast majority of people are wearing regular street clothes. There's little kids in shorts, moms with babies strapped to their backs
God orchestrates. You might not always be able to see Him in coattails, white buttoned gloves, and a stovepipe hat, but He's still orchestrating. He wrote the symphony, but the symphony is alive. We're all sitting in our chairs looking at our notes, but the notes are written on electronic paper that changes as God improvises. He can dynamically modulate the melody so that throughout time the motif of His church is always being played. It's theme and variations, but more complex than anything Beethoven dreamed of.
So what part do we play? Well, you might be three thousand, two hundred and forty second violin. I might be nine hundred sixty five million, eight hundred and eleven thousand, seven hundred and fifty third clarinet. But we've all got a part to play.
Given the Maestro's experience -- the continuous music He's been directing for over 6,000 years now, His seamless introduction of new members in the middle of a movement, and His flawless understanding of music theory and performance -- it'd be easy to think that we could just sit back and relax. But we've got to have our instrument in tune and be poised at attention: you never know when He's going to cue you and you're going to get your three notes in!
Are all of us soloists? Oh no: though there have been some amazing soloists. You see that man out there in the audience -- left side, portly, eyes closed, tears streaming? That's Herr Martin: you should have heard him play! And see that woman over there with her arms stretching up and her face just gleaming? That's Corrie, another incredible soloist. We've had some pretty incredible trios over the years, too. See those three guys in the balcony on the right? Yeah -- they had a pretty incredible act. Names are Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They could play even when their lives depended on it.
Anyway, I think what I'm driving at is that God wants us to be part of His symphony. He knows the parts you like to play, and He sometimes indulges your fancy for Celtic dance music, or bluegrass. But other times, you've got to play intricate arpeggios on the spur of a moment. Just watch your notes and be prepared. There's practice rooms in the back, so make sure you keep your fingers limber. And don't be surprised if you mostly play harmony: there's no shame in that. This isn't about advancing yourself, y'know. It's all about God. I mean, look at Him get into this music!
"Well, isn't God in control?"
"Sure He is! But don't use that as an excuse! You're here to play a part, so be ready to play it!"
"But if I miss a cue or rebel?
"Can't He just take my music 'just as I am' and make it into something better?
"Doesn't He play every instrument here?
"Sure does. But He wants you to pick one up and play it for Him. He could be a one-man band if He wanted to. I'm sure He could even breathe into each instrument, gush wind over each stringed instrument, and play this symphony by himself. But He doesn't want to! He gets a kick out of doing it with us."
(Originally written 4/29/09)