There is a certain balance, or symmetry, in the coordinated efforts of an orchestra and chorale, being lead by a brilliant conductor, producing the mellifluous tones of the original composer’s intent. Whether the classical works of Beethoven, Brahms, and Mozart, to the musings and arrangements by Ray Chew and his new band on Dancing With The Stars, the tight harmonies produced along with the familiar melodies touch us somewhere deep within. This alone makes the human being distinctly different from all other creatures on our planet.
The first title used for a congregation of believers in the first century was “church.” It actually comes from a Greek word: ἐκκλησία (ekklésia) pronounced (ek-klay-see’-ah). The first appearance of this word is found in Matthew 16:18, based on Peter’s profession that Jesus is “The Christ (anointed One, Messiah), the Son of the Living God!”
Jesus response was:
“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
This verse has lots of great teaching material but the word today is “harmony,” so where is this idea seen in what Jesus proclaimed? Easy; those who truly know Jesus, and follow Him as Lord, they will allow Him to lead, and they will follow Him, which build’s the church that belongs to Jesus. Each person working in harmony with the others, like the image Paul gave us, like a body following the lead of the head in all matters. A hand doesn’t act independently of the foot, or the intestines of the eyes, because all engage in their own part as the head leads. Every part of the body works in unison to achieve the great glory God deserves for our human presence on earth. Which brings us to another word, which to me more clearly states “how” we function as a body.
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Fellowship is really the “how” of a church identity. When the conductor (Jesus) directs and leads the orchestra and chorale (members), each faithfully providing their contribution in work according to the composer’s (God’s) design and will; what happens is the most pleasing, peaceful, participation that it can only be described as Fellowship.
This word used in scripture comes from a Greek word: κοινωνία (koinónia) pronounced (koy-nohn-ee’-ah). In Greek it means: participation, communion, fellowship, but more literally PARTNERSHIP. We are partners together with each other to follow Christ as our leader, to build His church. Too many individual believers, and way too many pastors or teachers have fallen under the spell of believing it is “their” church. But it’s not. The Church belongs to Jesus. We are privileged to be alive inside this body of believers, and to participate in God’s glory. But the church is not ours… it is His.
Having had the great joy of singing with world-class voices, on stage in front of thousands, accompanied by a world-class orchestra, lead by a brilliant conductor, I never once thought of it as “my chorale”, or “my symphony”, or my “stage.” I remember feeling so insignificant it brought tears to my eyes just realizing I was really there. These memories still live and breathe within me, touching me to the core of my being.
Next time you join in a congregational gathering (fellowship) for worship, ask yourself, “Am I in harmony with what God wants to have happen in this place today? Am I a willing participant? What do I have to offer that would demonstrate I’m willing to bring God great glory today?” These thoughts, from every member, bring harmony in the worship of our Creator, Savior, and Lord.
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