This week I will kick off a short Woman’s Bible Study Lesson series on lessons that can be drawn between faith and music. I hope you enjoy them!
The hall was silent. Everyone held their breathe in anticipation of what was about to take place. All eyes were on the conductor. The conductor surveyed the orchestra and raised his baton. At that moment, 150 musicians snapped to attention– ready to play– and waited for the downbeat. The concert was about to begin. For the next 60 minutes, the audience and musicians would participate in the shared joy of experiencing live orchestral music. The symphony would include rousing chorales, a lively waltz, a touching lullaby. At times the audience would have to strain to hear the soft melody of the flute. At other times, the audience would literally be lifted out of their seats by the rousing climax of the timpani and brass section, or the soaring, triumphant theme played by the violins.
The Conductor and God’s Masterpiece: Woman’s Bible Study Lesson
Throughout it all– each member of the orchestra would play their part to perfection (or so they hoped). Sometimes that meant long stretches of playing without a break. Sometimes that meant long stretches of resting.. and counting. Regardless, all musicians in the orchestra would never take their eyes off of the conductor. The conductor did not just lead the orchestra.. although without his direction, the music would quickly fall apart. The conductor breathed life into the orchestra, interpreted the music, determined the tempo and overall tone of the masterpiece they would all perform together. The conductor did not have to convince the orchestra that he was in charge. His authority was evident. Without the conductor, there would be no orchestra. Without the conductor, it would be very difficult to play together. The beautiful music would devolve into chaotic noise.
‘All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.’ ~I Corinthians 12:27 (New Living Translation)
Take a moment and think about the body of Christ– the church. Over the years many comparisons have been made between the body of Christ and an orchestra. The analogy is rich in similarities. Just as every member of the orchestra does their part, every Christian also has a part to play in the masterpiece that is the embodiment of the gospel message. For a moment though, let’s focus on some of the more subtle aspects of the analogy:
‘You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.’ ~Psalms 139: 1-3 (NIV)
- Notice that the head of the orchestra is not the Concertmaster. Nor is the head of the orchestra the principle oboist, nor the trumpet. The head of the orchestra is the conductor. This is interesting because even though the conductor actively leads the musicians, he, himself is not actually playing an instrument while conducting (not usually anyway). The conductor does not play while conducting for many reasons:
- He needs to be aware of what each member of the orchestra is doing at any given time. Is the flute playing too fast? Are the cellos out of tune? Is the violin section too loud? A good conductor knows what each member of the orchestra is doing and can make minor adjustments throughout the performance so that it is the best it can be.
- The conductor may not play an instrument during the performance or rehearsals, but there is a good chance he knows the music better than any musician on stage. Oftentimes, a conductor will have spent so much time with the music that he can conduct from memory. The conductor did much work before the rehearsals even started. Now, his role has changed. It is the orchestra’s job to follow his lead, his instruction, and perform the music according to the conductor’s interpretation.
‘fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Hebrews 12:2 (NASB)
- Without the conductor, the beautiful music would devolve into chaotic noise– Has this ever happened to the church? What happens when a body of Christ followers, takes their eyes off of Christ?
- Petty disputes over eternally inconsequential issues
- Power struggles between strong-willed members
- Cliques and spiritual bullying– people feeling left out of the fellowship
- Christians focusing on what they are getting, instead of what they are giving
- The purpose of the orchestra is to perform the masterpiece. What is God’s masterpiece? Well, the gospel message, right? Our purpose as Christians in the body of Christ (musicians in God’s orchestra), is to spread that gospel message. That is our singular purpose. Clearly, each member will contribute in different ways, but each member– each musician– has a vital part to play. That part is the only reason we are even on stage.
- And it isn’t just about entertaining the audience either… as a musician plays, they are enriched too. As Christians, if we continually go about the work of the Lord, we too will be edified. That edification will continue to glorify God. After all, the gospel message isn’t God’s only masterpiece… we are too.
‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’
~ Ephesians 2:10 (New Living Translation)
Thanks for reading and join us next week when we talk more about the orchestra and how every musician has a vital role to play.