From Messy Sounds to a Symphony of Color and Unity

Rays of hope, beauty and wonder!

Life is messy and complicated and Beautiful. We have heard and read that many times in books, sermons, conversations and more. There are no simple answers – well there is one – Love your neighbor as yourself! But…

Our nation and the world seem so deeply divided and scarred and wounded. We are hurt. Who has hurt us? Some think that they are ‘right’ and that everyone else is not in tune with what is ‘best’ or ‘right’. Many are afraid and uncertain of what is happening or what might be coming whether you are on the ‘left’ or the ‘right’.

How do we look at others? What do we see and hear from others or about others that influence us? How do I act or react to ensure my comfortable, known, and familiar way of living will continue? How do I act or react if I feel in my bones and heart that I and we need to change in order to establish a ‘more perfect union’?  Where or what is my moral compass?

In my mind and heart there are some moral standards that we must at least tolerate if not hold true in our hearts. Jesus and others declared: Love God (what is sacred or holy to you?) and love your neighbor as yourselves. The prophet Micah pronounced: The Lord has told you what is good,…and this is what (God) requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God (or with whom/whatever you hold dear beyond the realm of this known life).

Humility and Grace. Charity. Kindness.   

We often neglect the ‘self’ part of love. We may think that loving oneself is ego centered, selfish. Yet, loving oneself means each of us discovers that we have worth, a ‘sense of self’ in our person-hood. This is not self-centered selfishness but an acknowledgement that I am a creation of God, a creation of the universe. I have value.

Howard Thurman, a 20th century theologian, preacher and mystic believed that in order to create a society which lives in harmony with one another and with the Divine (Ultimacy of Life) each person must come to understand his or her worth. He writes: “When you can go deep down inside yourself, really know who you are and are secure in who you are – then – you can find yourself in every other human being.[1] It is vital that we are able to know who we are, what is our moral compass? We are loved, held closely by the Creator, the mover of Life. We are children of the Creation. We each hold a spark of the Beginning in our being. We are brothers and sisters.

We all have the capacity to love and despise. To hurt and feel shame. To be hurt and to be loved. To be ignored, etc. It is likely that we each have felt these emotions and/or done these deeds. I certainly have loved and despised, hurt others and been hurt and ignored others when I ought to have loved and listened and embraced.

My prayer and hope is for each individual … to sing. I have a plaque on the wall of my office which reads: Music is Life …That is why our hearts have a beat.  Sing. Let your voice rise in joy, let your voice rise in despair, let your voice rise in praise and in gratitude, let your voice rise in hope and in sorrow. When a band or orchestra is warming up the sound can be messy, unorganized, even a bit undisciplined and noisy. Where are they going with this?

Each instrument and voice need the warmup, it all gets mixed up together and it does sound messy, noisy. Then the band leader or conductor comes on. He or she taps a wand, and all become quiet. All eyes are on the conductor, waiting, watching, anticipating, eager to play their part so that a community is formed.  

There is intent. Each voice and instrument intentionally contribute. Each works at their voice and instrument, with each voice and instrument there are pauses and then motion, pauses and movement, action. To find one’s color that together creates beauty and wonder and awe!

Let our voices and instruments rise with other voices. With practice and intent our voices and instruments will play like a symphony with full orchestra – strings, brass, percussion – distinctive voices and sounds yet together harmonious. Each voice will be heard. Each prayer reaches the soul and becomes one in the Universe of the Divine.

We are meant for this; we are meant for community. We all have the innate capacity to manifest God because we already are that image by virtue of being created. (Thomas Keating)


[1] Hunt, Anthony C. Come Go With Me: Howard Thurman and a Gospel of Racial Inclusivity. P. 110

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