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Newaygo United Methodist Church
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors

Making Melody to God

Making Melody to God

Ephesians 5:15-20

One of the most beautiful pieces of classical music is Anton Dvorak’s New World Symphany.  In any piece of good music, the melody seems to carry the story of the piece.  The melody of that piece of music tells of longing, arriving, nostalgia, at times of joy and peace.  It’s story in melody reaches into the heart and carries the hearer into ups and downs that creates a sense of wanting to belong.  At least that is my interpretation and I have sat listening to that music for years when I have felt troubled and I have found expression for my discontent better than any other piece I have listened to.  The other parts surrounding the melody seem to fill in the depths and heights of the melody so that a beautiful piece of music and harmony tells a more complete story.  A piece like that cannot be created and played overnight.  It takes finding the right notes, then practicing the notes individually and together.  At first the piece may sound disjointed and unharmonious as players begin to practice and put their parts together.  But as players learn their parts, the piece becomes more harmonious and eventually a beautiful piece of music and the story it tells begin to unfold. 

God has a story to tell.  It is a story and symphony of creation, brokenness, redemption, and fulfillment.  The melody of that story began a long time ago and continued through God’s working with humans.   Its notes were written in sacred word, and it is the Spirit gave the spark that brought the melody of the story to life.  People heard the story and began to play its melody in that big event that happened more than 2000 years ago.  At first, though energized by the story, the way it was told and shared was a little disharmonious, but as more and more came to believe and share the story, and live the story, its melody began to sharpen and produce an incredible symphony that changed the world.  Reading about the history of Christianity will give us a clue about how we have played the melody through the ages.  Sometimes the music has been played harmoniously, and God’s plan for the world has moved forward.  At other times, its notes have not been played well and the music has not been heard well.  But God keeps raising up voices and people of action who bring the melody back to life so that it is heard in all its beauty and brings people to be carried on by its power and ability to change lives and transform the world.

We, as part of the body of Christ are asked to participate in the symphony of God’s story, making the melody that will draw others into the completion of the story.  We are called to make melody for God in the ways we live out the story.  In the piece of scripture read today we hear yet another piece of how to live as Christians in this world.  Paul tells us to be careful how we live , not as unwise people, but as wise.  He continues by telling us to live by trying to understand the will of God.  As Christians we are always in the process of trying to figure out what is the will of God.  God has given us the gift of the Spirit to help us figure out God’s will, we are not alone in the process. 

In this piece of scripture Paul gives us one clue about our living as Christians.  It must involve giving thanks to God in the name of Jesus Christ.  In Paul’s mind that means expressing our heartfelt thanks through singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  We sing because we are filled with the Spirit and desire to give expression to our thanks for what God has done.  We have many good songs that give expression to thanksgiving as well as give expression to the story and its meaning for our lives.  Those of the Christian faith who are musically inclined are often seeking new ways to express what it is God has done and our joy at what He has done.  In fact when we gather to worship, songs are at the heart of our worship.  And no matter how good or bad we sing, when we sing in the spirit of thankfulness it is always a good melody for God. 

But worship is not just singing.  Worship is about God, about what God has done in Jesus, about communicating with God as we sit in this sacred space.  Worship is about doing our best to express our thanksgiving and praise to God through all our acts of worship.  It’s about sitting for this little while giving up a little of ourselves and tuning our thoughts into God’s melody.  We don’t do it perfectly, although there are moments of perfection in our worship.  We tend to get easily distracted, thinking of everything but God.  But we are called back to giving our praise and thanksgiving to God through some of our ritual, some of our words and songs of prayer, petition, adoration.  We are here for one hour a week, out of 148.  We are here intentionally just to tune our minds into God’s melody.  This one hour at least is God’s hour, God’s time to try to capture our minds and hearts.  It is our time to give thanks and to regroup and reconcile ourselves to God once again, to find forgiveness, to replenish our spirits, and to recall once again Jesus’ sacrifice and remember God’s love and mercy. 

Each of us has a different way of thinking about God, different things we find meaningful in a worship service, a different way of relating to God during this time together.  But for this little time we find ourselves centered around God, focused on God, drinking in what pieces of the melody we can hear and receive and letting it move us to better living, as wiser persons, as people more intentionally directed to live as Christ himself lived.  We need this time together.  Because without it we can move into apathy about our, we can make choices that are self centered and unfulfilling, we can more easily focus on ourselves in ways that begin to exclude God. 

In this gathered body of Christ we are given the opportunity to reflect on how we are living our lives, and make recommitments to God to live those lives better, more in keeping with the teachings of Christ.  Where we may think we have failed miserably in being faithful to God in the past week, we can know that God still loves us and moves us to do better, to live wiser lives. 

It continues to amaze me that God can be so forgiving, that our mistakes are viewed as just that, mistakes that can teach us and move us forward in our faith.  It continues to amaze me that God understands us and forgives us and loves us through our worst.  It continues to amaze me that God spends time with us, sits with us, cries and laughs with us through all our experiences.  It continues to amaze me that this time together has its holy moments no matter how tired or distracted or troubled we might be.  It’s when I am so amazed that I want to say over and over again, “Thank you God!”  It’s when I am so amazed that I want to Praise God through song.  It’s when I am so amazed that I hear the melody of God’s story as it is connected with ours so intimately.  Thank you God for spending this time with us, for sitting among us and moving us to understand and offer you our thanks and praise.     

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