Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Tuesday, December 14
By Dan Kelley
Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord
Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-20
In 1967 I was a freshman at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. I had several classes in Swain Hall East in the southwest corner of the campus. I lived in Teter Quad in the northwest corner of the campus. As I would walk home after class I would take a shortcut through, rather than around, the Music Arts Center. The MAC was a huge building that took up two blocks and was home to a quarter of the IU undergrads who were Music majors.
The MAC had large and small auditoriums for concerts, recitals, and performances. It had scenery and costume shops for opera. It had a longer season, with more operas performed, than the MET in New York. And it had classrooms to teach music.
My favorite rooms were the individual practice rooms. There seemed to be hundreds of them in a long hallway. They were soundproofed, but if you listened closely you could hear music coming out of them. If the musicians were playing a lead instrument – like a violin, piano, organ, or trumpet – you could pick up the melody and identify the piece.
Many times you would hear the instruments like the viola, the double bass, the oboe, the flute, the bassoon, or the French horn playing the bassline, the harmonies, the descants, or the counterpoints; the parts that the baroque musicians called the continuo. You could not easily identify the piece. But these musicians practiced their instruments daily and perfected their parts diligently.
It is only when the orchestra comes together, under the baton of the maestro, that all the parts blend together. Without the continuo parts the piece of music does not have the fullness, the richness, and the complexity that the composer intended.
The Bible has many unknown and unnamed people who played important parts in Jesus’s ministry, such as the woman who washed his feet and the one who anointed his head with nard. Unknown but important.
The church is much like an orchestra. There are lead parts like clergy, staff, and committee chairs. And there are continuo parts like the rest of us that work in the church. We must practice, perfect, and perform our parts, so that under the baton of Jesus, the church may have the fullness, the richness, and the complexity he intends for us. We must prepare to play our part.
Dear Lord of Mercy Divine, Help us to identify, learn, and practice to perfection our part in the building of Your Kingdom. Help us to be in tune with others in your church. Help us follow your direction and live our lives in the fullness and richness that you intend for us.