Recently I read a reflection correlating humankind to musical instruments. Being an eclectic music lover, that image has been turning over in my mind. There is truth in that correlation from a few different perspectives.
Thinking of humanity as one giant orchestra makes sense. While sometimes the noise we make is a cacophony of sound, at other times we can make beautiful music together. In order to make such music, we need to embrace who we are. If we are a bass and wish to be a trumpet, no matter how hard we try to sound like a trumpet, we will never achieve that sound, even if we play the same notes as the trumpet. Yet when we embrace our truest self, the one God made us to be, we find our unique way of contributing. When we find this voice, we can reach the high notes and the low notes and everything in between. The charisms that God has given us are like the sound of an instrument and the way it is played. We can’t ask for different ones, but we can ask to understand what we have been given and how we can use our gifts to fulfill God’s will.
If we each have our own set of charisms as instruments, then God’s orchestra is indeed varied and diverse. While it is nice to hear a piano or a violin playing, the music is much richer when more instruments are involved. As more instruments are added, they take on different roles within the music. While the piano is percussive in its nature, it can also take the melodious lead or support the other instruments in harmony. The bass most often has a joint role as it keeps time with the drum beat, yet with a note on the scale that forms a chord of music together with the other instruments. While we can appreciate solos, the best music is often heard when many instruments play in harmony.
How incredible is it that all music is from a seven note scale! Seven is considered a holy number (the seven-day story of creation). While there are a number of “in between” notes, the sharps/flats, and many octaves of the scales, only frequency differentiates one C note from another. While music has evolved over time, there are still new songs being created daily. What seems so restrictive, with a little creativity, can produce limitless possibilities. Even the cymbals that only have one note can either produce a famous musical exclamation mark, or be used to create a sense of movement, depending on how they are played.
Beautiful music is created when practiced musicians play under the direction of a skilled director and listen with awareness to the instruments around them. When we embrace the gifts we have been given, practice using them, and look to God to guide us, and work in harmony with each other, the spiritual music we create will reverberate throughout eternity.