This past Sunday at noon, our church choir officially began its well-earned summer hiatus. They ended their season in style, singing four pieces in both services. I often sing in the choir, but Sunday I was able to listen because I was mostly involved in other parts of the service.
This week I am preparing for Trinity Sunday, and it occurs to me that the choir reflects some important aspects of the Holy Trinity.
Now, if you know our choir members, that may seem a bit of a theological stretch ☺, but bear with me for a moment…
Do you know the word “Trinity” never appears in the Bible? Nevertheless, the church from the beginning experienced God coming to us in three different ways: as Creator of the universe; as Redeemer who frees us from the sin that separates us from God and others; as the Spirit who lives within and comforts and guides us.
It’s way too long to go into here, but the church in its early centuries often fought about what words to use when talking about the Trinity, and even split over those words. The early thinkers who engage me most on the subject, though, wrote about the relational aspects of the Trinity.
They liked to imagine that though God is one, these three “persons” were also in evidence. The three had individual qualities that were sometimes more noticeable than the others. For example, when I’m climbing a mountain, it’s entirely possible that the Creator will come to mind. If I have hurt someone, it is probably the Redeemer I’ll pray to. When I am wondering what to do next, I may ask for the Spirit’s guidance.
In other ways, we experience all the aspects of God’s character in a single moment.
Are you still awake? Because here is where I’m getting back to the choir.
Each choir member, each section (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) has its own role to play. You hear each part. Sometimes the parts are even singing different words. And yet. And yet, what you hear (on our good days, anyway), is a seamless work, unified at its core. It is beautiful because of all the parts, but if one part were missing, the music would not be complete. No one section is more important than the others.
(Unless it’s the sopranos. Did I mention I’m a soprano? But I digress.)
The individuals can make music together they could never make alone. Specific and unified at the same time, they are many and they are one.
So, as those long ago guys wrote, there are ways in which we people may actually reflect some Trinitarian theology. While retaining our individual characteristics, personalities and gifts, we nevertheless meld them all together into something new and beautiful. You don’t have to sing in a choir. You just have to be human and express your gifts. We are individuals; we are a body. We can make beautiful “music” when we bring all of ourselves to blend together into the whole.
It’s God’s type of music.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2010