Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fingering chart for the Spirit

During TaizĂ© prayer this morning, I happened to glance at my recorder right before we entered silence. Specifically, I noticed the thumbhole.

I'm sure you remember how this wind instrument works. You probably played one in elementary school. It's a bit like a long whistle with holes up and down the front and a thumb hole high on the back. Depending on which holes you cover and which ones you leave open, you play different pitches when you blow through the mouthpiece.

Spiritually speaking, none of us stays open all the time. Likewise, none stays perpetually closed. But the Spirit still blows. And depending on who is open and closed at a particular moment, the Spirit's tune changes.

How important it is that we each are open and closed at the right times — to the Spirit, each other, our own ego, will, desires, and distractions. When we are open and closed at different times of our lives, the Spirit sounds different. As I close down, you may open up, and that changes things. It's, well, dynamic.

When we each open and close in the right proportions and rhythms  throughout the church community, the Spirit makes beautiful music, not just spiritual noise.

My insight was that we don't all have to be open at once. Lower notes require more holes to be covered. And there is even one note that requires all holes to be filled. It's hard to play, but occasionally the music calls for it. And as important as that one note is, there's not much worthwhile music written for one note alone. The Spirit uses our emptiness and fulness alike to sing God's song.

If we ever become a one-note church, or if one of us never opens up or never shuts down, the song won't be as beautiful as it can be. We'll get anxious, bored, frustrated, or tired. We need all of us, working in concert, open and closed, empty and full, to become the song the Spirit wants most to sing.