Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of Proper 23: Year 1
“It is the same way with lifeless instruments that produce sound, such as the flute or the harp. If they do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is being played? And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? So with yourselves; if in a tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is being said? For you will be speaking into the air. There are doubtless many different kinds of sounds in the world, and nothing is without sound. If then I do not know the meaning of a sound, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves; since you are eager for spiritual gifts, strive to excel in them for building up the church.” (1st Corinthians 14:7 to 12)
The “it” that Paul speaks of is the speaking of tongues nobody understands. He likens them to musical instruments that no one plays, or plays out of tune. They are lifeless and bring nothing to the ear of the listener or they make indiscernible noise.
I practice music on piano, guitar, a marching valve trombone and a traditional slide trombone. Few things make me happier than playing a hymn or song correctly and enjoying the fact that, “I” did that. It also is recognizable by others, and especially children.
I am convinced that our children will only have faith passed on to them if we sing to them. We must sing songs like, Jesus loves me this I know,” and “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.” In this way they will have hope in the love of our Lord Jesus. In this way they will have hope and faith and maybe have a desire to learn how to make musical instruments come alive in order to put melody to what we have taught them.
Unfortunately the arts are the first courses of instructions to go when budgets are being cut. I argue that if we shatter their dreams, hopes and faith, math and history are meaningless. Our souls are meant to sing.
I am aware that Paul was only using musical instruments as a metaphor for indiscernible speech. I think however the same can be said of musical sounds itself. If we teach our children to sing simple melodies perhaps they have a desire to learn how to actually play the melodies. After all, it was ourselves, parents and relatives who taught them to even speak our language in the first place. If we think so much about a baby saying, “Ma ma, or Da da; how much more should we think about our babies, after some development, singing “Jesus loves me.” It brings me to tears of joy.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John