The feel of fall is in the air – a time of finishing the growth cycle, a time for “gathering in.” Harvest is, too, the time for gathering in family and friends, a time when our hearts seem to make their way back home.
Fall Festivals are celebrating our communities, and families are making plans for summer’s last picnics, last trips to “the cabin” at the lake or in the woods, or the journey home for Thanksgiving.
Music is so much a part of all that brings us joy in the fall. It’s time for gathering around a piano somewhere to sing in harmony the songs that renew the commitments made to God, to each other, and to our great country, or to sit around the fires of fall with a guitar or autoharp and teach parts to the children to the favorite songs we grown-ups first sang as a kid.
I believe there is an important reason we must sing in harmony--even a theological one--whether in families or in the Family of God: we are not one because of our consensus, but because of our commitment. Indeed, we are so different and have so many viewpoints it’s hard to get a consensus at the dinner table let alone in the church or in the broader community of believers. No, we are not one because of our consensus, but because of our commitment to something bigger than our individual opinions. It is our commitment to God and thus to each other as necessary parts of His Body that makes us one. We each bring our unique identities in Him and join our voices in expressing our allegiance to Him. Amazingly what results is beautiful harmony, but one song. Oh, sometimes, for a line or two we may sing unison to emphasize some major statement, but mostly it is our very diversity that God uses to make His music.
So this season of gathering in, let’s gather the children, the young people, the patriarchs and the matriarchs, the newcomers and veterans and sing our hearts out the messages that define our identities in Him – in harmony.
And there’s nothing better for singing our roots than the hymns that have outlived us all, surviving trends and fads, good times and hard times. Great hymns have been tried in the fires of human experience and have emerged true. Let’s pass these pure gold gifts on to our children so that when life drops them into water over their heads, these bits of portable theology, these Truths wrapped in music will be a life-line when they’re needing one in the worst way.
And let’s let the young ones sing to us the new songs that are speaking to them in the reality of the world as they are experiencing it. Let’s learn the new harmonies and add our voices to the chords.
It’s fall! As we gather in all that is dear, let’s choose a part and sing both our history with God and our love for each other – in harmony!