I find myself caught in the constant tension between God’s symphonic dream for planet Earth and my own selfish cacophony. From the first time we hear heaven’s sound, we know in our innermost being, that we are called to be part of Heaven’s symphony. We are destined to play a part. We are endowed with the privilege of continuing Christ’s mission on the earth – mending broken hearts, liberating prisoners, feeding the hungry, accepting the rejected, caring for the fatherless, loving the unlovely, including the marginalized, embracing the foreigner, healing the sick, associating with the social outcast.
Some art forms are an acquired taste. Take jazz music for instance. Not knowing the basic historic rudiments, techniques or nuances of jazz, I suspect I don’t fully appreciate the genre. When it comes to jazz, I plead 98% ignorance. The one jazz riff I learnt from my guitar tutor had my fingers entangled and my image bruised. Needless to say, that is where my experiential language of jazz ends. In order for me to understand and appreciate jazz more, I’ll have to dust off my guitar and go for some jazz lessons.
It is a style of music that’s not typically a one-hit wonder, but takes time to grow on you. The more I hear it, the more it becomes part of me and I become part of it. The tunes grip your soul and the rhythms arrest your heart. Before long, you are tapping the beat, whistling the tune, humming the melody, singing the song and living the lyrics. The music becomes you.
This is the same with God’s symphony; it has a tendency to grow on you. And before you realize it, His symphonic masterpiece has become the melody you sing. Yes, your life starts to resonate with the sound from heaven. Your way of living starts to reflect God’s heart and thoughts. To be frank, the priorities of God become your to-do-list.
On the other side of the tension is my selfish cacophony. A cacophony is a big noise of inharmonious clatter. The problem here is that you, I and the whole human race are born into this selfish cacophony. The Biblical term for this cacophony is sin. Sin implies that a person has missed the target God set out for him or her to hit. We’ve missed the life God intended for us to live. We’ve fallen short of the glorious symphony the Conductor has envisioned for us to be part of. We are so out of tune that only the Original Designer could have stepped in to rescue. And He did! Paul echoes this predicament we find ourselves in, in his letter to the church in Rome (at that time it was the capital of the Roman Empire; synonymous with affluence, intellectual power and perceived perfection). “We’re all the same. No one’s innocent. We’ve all messed up and dropped well short of God’s target for us.” (Romans 3:23)
We’ve all messed up and dropped well short. That’s our problem – God knows it and I believe we know it as well. And that’s where God’s marvelous newsbreak is like fresh water to our souls. The news that our mess-up is irreparable, but His cure is immaculate. The consequences of our choices deserve judgement, yet the storehouse of His grace is immeasurable. This is the mystery of the gospel – the ‘wowness’ of what God did for us will never be fully grasped. And to top that, God invites us to share this Good News with those who are most undeserving (like we were and still are).