Imagine yourself sitting at the theater, excited that you will hear the local symphony. The lights dim, the curtains open, the first violinist enters, everyone claps. He stands in front of the musicians and you hear an A played by the oboe, all the instruments join in as they tune. The conductor now enters, takes his baton, stands in front of the musicians and for the next hour all you hear is the instruments playing that same note, an A. How boring it would be! Music is beautiful because different notes come together to create harmony. Music is beautiful because there is dissonance and resolution. Music is beautiful because there is a variation of volume and speed.
Different notes need each other to make a harmony: there is no need to play just one note as long as each note knows its place within the chord. They work together creating unpleasant sounds (dissonance) that resolve into beautiful chords (resolution), creating something truly remarkable. All notes must follow the tempo of the conductor to stay together and avoid chaos.
Just as the conductor makes it possible for the instruments to be in harmony, the Holy Spirit is the conductor of the symphony of the universe, directing all things into harmony and unity without demanding conformity. The Holy Spirit draws all things unto Himself so they may be lifted up to the Father. Saint Iraeneus who was the bishop of Lyons, France about 1800 years ago, wrote that the Holy Spirit is like moisture that turns scattered dry flour into a lump of dough. The Holy Spirit is the moisture that brings together every bit of flour, transforming it into one loaf of bread. Flour tends to scatter making a mess. Yet with the moisture from water or milk, flour is suddenly brought together and changed forever. “Through the Spirit,” Iraeneus writes, “we have become one in soul.”
The devil knows that if he is able to divide God’s people, he will have the upper hand because he will undermine the work of the Holy Spirit. He works tirelessly to create division within the Body of Christ. Consider any parish in our diocese: we come from different places, we represent different ethnicities and cultures, we speak different languages and we think differently politically, making it a challenge to allow the Holy Spirit to guide in harmony. We must not allow language, culture, ethnicity, language, profession, political party, legal status, or any other superficial reality divide us. Unity among Christians already exists in Christ, the challenge is to make its expression a reality.
There is no need to make all conform to be identical, unity does not mean conformity. Rather, unity means harmony, each person playing a different note in the beautiful harmony of God’s symphony.
Picture from public domain