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Getting the Orchestra Ready

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If you’ve ever had the opportunity to hear a major symphony, you know the power and impact it can have upon the emotions of an audience. With the rise and fall of dynamics, beauty comes from the masterpieces composed over the centuries.

When I go to a symphony, it is intriguing what takes place before they start: the hustle and bustle, the rustling of papers, the scurrying of musicians, the squeaks and squawks of the woodwinds tuning, the moaning of the double basses and the last minute preparations of the percussion section. As anticipation makes it way into the sound of the pandemonium, the conductor gives three simple taps of the baton upon the podium. Immediately everything comes to attention. A massive sound of unity and agreement is suddenly heard, whereas ten seconds earlier, the sound of dissonance and disagreement dominated the room. Three little clicks on the podium changed everything. As the conductor’s hands are raised, the downbeat is imminent. Hustle and bustle give way to order, as every eye in the orchestra focuses on the conductor. With his gestures and facial expressions, he conducts the dynamics of each section of the orchestra. With his hand, he mixes and blends the music as it is being played. To start, however, we hear a simple first tap of the conductor’s baton. Click.

The physical setup of an orchestra gives every player a clear line of vision to the conductor. From the flutist to the cellist, every member of the orchestra must have the ability to simultaneously see their music and the conductor. A music stand is positioned so that a musician hardly has to move his eyes from the score, and can simply stare over the top of his pages to see the next instruction from the conductor. God has given us His Word as our music. As a church, we have rehearsed it over and over again. But in order to play in agreement with God’s instructions–in symphoneo with His direction–we must keep our eyes on the conductor of all men, Jesus Christ. We must keep a clear line of vision to see His command of when we should come in, when we should back off a little, or when we should play a phrase with every ounce of energy in us.

To sound the music of His Word, we must be in complete accordance with His conducting.

I venture to say that if we listen closely, we can hear the second click of a heavenly baton calling every eye to Him. Click. Click. May we be in tune.

The difference between a warrior and a wimp is simple. When the heat of battle comes, the wimp folds and the warrior focuses. As individuals warm up in a corporate sound of dissonance, the conductor gives opportunity for the preparation, the hustle and bustle, the shaping, molding, and fine-tuning of each instrument. We’ve come to the place now that two clicks have been heard. Before the third click is sounded, we must determine in our hearts whether we are wimps or warriors. On the third click, we must be ready to release the thunder of a pure tone. Immediately after the third click is heard, His hands are raised to signify an inhaling. When the conductor’s hands come down, it will be the prompting to exhale a blast of the wind of the Spirit and jolt the enemies of God into submission to His authority in us.

Before the Conductor’s arms swing down in a sweeping motion to start the music, every player must know his place. No more wishy-washy personality conflicts of wondering if you’re in the right section, or even in the right orchestra. Every musician has a purpose and a holy assurance of his important and needed role to the entire orchestra. As the members of David’s orchestra spent their entire lives creating, molding and shaping their instruments to become extensions of themselves, our lives must be the instruments of our worship. Through this, our place in His orchestra is sure.

Though some of us are flutes, mined as silver out of Germany, we have to lose our identities as Germans. Though some were once mighty rosewood trees in a Brazilian forest, now we find ourselves as a plain slab of wood on the back of a guitar. Though we maintain some individual qualities, we have to humble ourselves to come into unity and agreement with some of the other components that make up the church, or the guitar, if you will. With this in mind, let me paraphrase a song we all know. It’s the 133rd song in the book of Psalms:

“Now see how good and how pleasant it is to have lost our identities as a result of the molding, shaping, chiseling, and sanding of the hand of God on our lives that would cause us to become one instrument, united for the purpose of coming into agreement with the sound of heaven–the sound of corporate worship that requires corporate humility. And as God plays through His Body, both corporately and individually, may the sound of heaven and the symphony of earth resound its never-ending praise to Him.”

The Father is eager to release into our earthly realm sounds of heaven that will radically change the corporate walk of the church. These supernatural sounds contain the powerful essence of His creative voice and nature.

As God’s people come together with one unified voice to worship Him, the sounds of our praises will rise to His throne as a powerful symphony from the earth.

I believe His response to earth’s symphony will be an outpouring of the sounds of heaven both in us and the creation around us. The eternal praises, the sound of heaven, will merge with the symphony of the earth. Let’s individually and corporately pursue the high praises of God, giving ourselves to the worship of Jesus. As we do, we will enter the realm of the sounds of heaven, and the sounds of heaven will enter the realm of the earth. May God receive the praise and honor of which He is so worthy.

Ray Hughes

Ray Hughes is a storyteller, poet, musician, historian, speaker, author, and all-around pioneer in the areas of worship, creativity, and the arts.

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