Community: Orchestral Christianity

(2nd of 2 parts begun April 2, 2005)

And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning…

Matt 24:6-8 (NAS)

I see the church as an orchestra that needs to play in every season. In these days, some of us need to play the theme of peace and non-violence, which is at the core of God’s heart for the universe (Ps. 34:14; Mt. 5:9; Rom. 14:17). This is a prophetic reminder to a world that is prone to conflict that the Father calls us to peace. Still, others need to pick up the harmonies of mercy for the innocent caught in the crossfire (Ps. 41:1). Others need to play the melody of prayer for those in leadership (1 Tim. 2:1-2). Others need to play their energies for refugees (Is. 25:4). Others for the soldiers (Lk. 3:14; Mt. 8:9-10). And there are dozens of other ways that we might play the symphony of Christ’s compassion for the world.

I’ve been forcing myself to remember the people in this because they are those for whom Christ died. He didn’t die for a cause—the cause of patriotism, the cause of peace, or any other cause. He died and rose that whoever believed on Him would have eternal life. He instructed us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, and then to serve that world in His name.

It seems to me that our Father has many things He would say to this world and that He is relying on His church to say them. No single person will be able to reflect the facets of His heart, but His church can, acting together, each playing the instrument of his or her gifting. The challenge is for each of us to play our particular instrument in concert with the others and not withdraw to play a solo or assume that some “musicians” aren’t fit to play.

Here’s my dream: I envision a gathering of believers who affirm one another in their conscience and calling. I see a group gathering around to pray and commission others to minister as intercessors for the refugees and the poor, perhaps even help send someone to work with Mercy Corps or other relief organization. I would like to see people gathering around to affirm and commission some folks to, in a Christ-like manner, call for peace and remind the world of the Prince of Peace who is its only source. Can you see it? Can you envision a “sending out” of somebody to preach on the streets, or work for justice for the poor, or reverently march in a demonstration for peace, or send encouragement to soldiers in the conflict? Nothing I’ve mentioned falls beyond the pale of God’s heart for the world. We may not all share the same passions, but we all can honor one another’s conscience.

Though the nations rage—and it looks like we better get used to it—we should remember that they are all, even the United States, a drop in the bucket (Is. 40). Though we are Americans, we are citizens of God’s Kingdom first. We are members of God’s symphony. Perhaps the Lord is inviting us to prepare for the coming days by encouraging each other to become skilled with the instrument He has given us to play, and then to play our part faithfully.

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