How would you describe the Church? That can be a dangerous question. The Church has made many mistakes through the years. Many people have been hurt from the decisions its leaders have made or from the people within its walls. But how would you describe the Church as it was meant to be? What is its potential?
I saw a beautiful video that, to me, is the perfect picture of what the church could be.
Eric Whitacre had an amazing vision. He invited people from all over the world to participate in his choir. They didn’t have to have credentials. They didn’t have to look a certain way, or be a certain age, or speak a certain language. They didn’t even have to travel from where they were. All they had to do was submit a video. And that video was put together into something beautiful and moving; something far beyond what any of the people participating in it could have done on their own. This choir is an ambassador of beautiful music composed by a brilliant conductor.
But this choral symphony was not made without effort. It took a lot of work to scrub out background noise, so that all the tracks would work together in perfect harmony. I’m sure there were many mistakes made along the way. But now we can see that the hard work was worth it. I cannot imagine that a single person who participated in this choir regrets his or her decision to do so. They were able to participate in something much bigger than themselves, something that inspired and moved people.
I believe God looks out into the world and sees potential. He sees the potential within each one of us to do something beautiful with our lives. And He sees the potential of what we can do when we work together. That’s what the Church is meant to be.
As this choir was unified through singing the same song, the church is unified through the gospel message of Jesus Christ. But this does not make us a boring and static group. The Gospel message brings beauty, as the Church becomes the embodiment of unity in diversity. Each singer is still an individual: unique and with important part to play.
The key is keeping our eyes on the conductor. He is guiding us in how to use our gifts to bring beauty to the world. But, we have to watch for his signs. We can’t get sidetracked by the noise in the other rooms of our house. He can help us scrub out noise, but He needs us to stay in the room. Each of us has to participate.
I have a history of stretching analogies farther than they should go, so I should probably stop here. I may have gone too far already. However, I hope that this analogy brings you the same sense of wonder as it brought to me. This is an opportunity to marvel about what the church could be. What would happen to the world if the Church kept its eyes on what it was called here to do? What would happen to the world if each of us put time and effort into the part we were called to play?
We will make mistakes. It will take effort. But it is worth it. The church should bring beauty, peace, and hope to the world. The church is meant to be an ambassador of beautiful music.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -Ephesians 3:20-21
(Eric Whitacre did a great TED video describing how this choir came into existence. You can watch it by clicking here.)