I went to a practice of a church music group the other day. Most of the participants were of a senior age group, but all were willing to use their musical giftings to support the worship in the church. Someone new was playing the keyboard. The worship leader wasn`t too familiar with the tunes of some of the songs he had chosen, the lead guitarist was absent, the bass player admitted to playing one in every four notes, the accordion player hadn`t got all the right music and the vocal support was new also. The result was a joyful, but not very harmonious, noise. Someone remarked afterwards that it was a good job we believe in a God of miracles! Bless them all for having a go.
I was reminded of Paul`s words in Ephesians 4 that we`re to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. I reflected on how much like normal Church life that music practice was; lots of well-meaning individuals having a go for God, but sometimes producing something far short of unity and peace.
In most Church fellowships there are people who are not quite in tune with the others, relationally or spiritually. Sometimes the problem is ignorance of the teaching of Scripture and the vision of the Church. For others it may be a lack of the ability to encourage rather than criticise. Yet others have their focus on their department, ministry or area of service, at the expense of an integrated whole body of the Church community.
So what is to be done? Paul highlights a few basic principles which can help restore the Church to its intended wholeness. He reminds us in Ephesians 4:1 to have a godly lifestyle, in verse 2 to cultivate humility, gentleness, patience and forbearance, and finally in verse 3 to live in the Spirit and work together for and in peace.
As we prefer one another, fulfil our roles in the Church with a servant heart, and act in a humble and patient way together as brothers and sisters, so the Church will become more the representation of Christ in our world. Maybe I ought to start with myself and my attitude to the music group, such as doing what I can to encourage and support them, so that the joyful noise becomes a fragrant offering.
Prayer: Father thank You for the gifts and abilities You`ve given us within the Body of Christ. Help us to encourage one another in these gifts, to be humble and patient towards each other however `well` others are doing, and to do our best to promote the unity of the Spirit in and through the bond of peace. Amen.
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