Ephesians 5:15-20, NRSV:
15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts,20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Reading this passage, vv 19-20 jump out at me a little this evening. It says being filled with the Spirit can be accompanied by singing and other kinds of music-making. A couple of things stand out to me:
– The songs happen “among yourselves” (plural). This is, again, a church thing and not an individual thing.
– It doesn’t say they are all “happy-happy-joy-joy” songs, does it? At all times and for everything, our singing is to be eucharistic… “with thanksgiving.” What would it mean for that to include songs of lament, for example? Reading this passage, one might assume that being filled with the Spirit means the stuff we will write and sing will always be happy, energetic, and peppy or something. I’m pretty sure that doesn’t reflect real life. I’m pretty sure someone could be “in the Spirit” and still have a terrible day (or month or year…) and the song in their heart could be one that gives thanks through lament.
-The church as the diverse-yet-unified Body of Christ means we’re not all playing the same instrument, and that’s a good thing. An orchestra really only needs one piccolo, for example. And one set of timpani, unless you’re playing The Planets by Holst. But seriously, if the whole orchestra were a clarinet, where would the french horns be? And an orchestra without horns would be a terribly sad thing.
I wonder what kind of music our people are making this week?