Friday, October 3, 2014
The ‘sound’ of people in harmony with God
Cathedrals are ‘edifices of metaphor’ with their soaring architecture, echoing acoustic, light and darkness, rhythm of services and prayer and style of worship – a picture of heaven on earth. The harmony and togetherness of Winchester Cathedral Choir is a distinctive sound within this greater picture.
THE famous violinist and the tone of the historic instrument (Monday’s post) is a reminder that we are given, and hold, something that is intrinsically very attractive — an attractive sound to others.
We tend to keep the ‘sound’ shut away, and in the human way, sometimes those charged with creating the harmony forget how it works and do their own thing, and it becomes a different sound — until tuning and tempo are restored. What is created by the band or choir, is created and broadcast by the wider body and its togetherness under the baton of Jesus.
Even if not everyone is attracted by music, many are. It has its own language. Clothing retailers especially know this. The piped musicin the shop is a banner about the style of the fashions on offer. Music communicates, music attracts and King David and Matt Redman both know that a certain kind of music – the Jesus-centred kind – brings the presence of God.
I have a friend who is a music arranger and band leader, as well as being a worship leader who loves to draw people into the presence of God. He tells a story of an evening meeting that was going on too long and too loud, according to the rules. It was summer and the doors were open. A man who was struggling to get through the day, let alone life, paused outside, and then came inside. His story was that it was the sound spilling out – a sound he had not heard before – that compelled him to enter in. There was something in it that was transforming, and peace-giving. To keep the story short, he told his story, prayer ministry was offered and he gave his life to the Lord. It was the sound that drew him.
We have talked about the kingdom people who sow and nurture, and the ones who reap – all part of the same process (Tuesday). Most people today start with little knowledge of God, let alone whether He is approachable or not, and the journey of discovery cannot be rushed. There are distinct stages (Thursday) and evangelism is as much about encouraging someone from one stage to the next, as it is about surrender to Jesus and the realisation of salvation and new life now. People are drawn by the sound of heaven we carry.
We do have a sound – a song – and it is a victory refrain, about Jesus who secured that victory, and about the joy and peace that is ours even in the face of life’s trials. We belong to a fellowship of peace, and meet in a place of peace, and have spiritual authority to call down peace and release peace.
The point is, we both have and are able to bring to bear, something highly attractive that the world seeks. With apologies to psychotherapists, accredited counsellors, listeners, GPs and other health professionals, police officers and the better kind of politician, the many who consult them and rely on them are desperate for what we already have in full measure and overflowing.
The world is an anxious, stressful place, but Jesus said He had come that we might have light (revelation, truth), life in abundance – and peace in Him. It is there for us to appropriate.
That is the deeply attractive sound of God’s presence.