One of my greatest memories from my college years is the opportunity I had to sing with The Master's College Chorale. College choirs usually are very high quality, but in my humble (not at all biased) opinion, the Chorale outstrips them all. It was a very special experience for me. (I met my now-fiancee in the choir!) Ultimately, I felt so privileged to get to sing with 50+ of my friends, making beautiful music together week in and week out.
But this is not to say that everyone in the choir was a phenomenal singer. I'm sure there are many people who I sang with who would not call themselves "great" singers. Most everyone in the choir each year has an average to slightly-higher-than-average voice. The beauty of singing in a choir, though, is that all those average voices combine together to make a sound more incredible than even the best singer in the group could make on their own. Somehow, when all those voices join together, they lift themselves far above their normal capability. It is truly a transcendent experience.
The choir thrives on the diversity of the voices within it. Some people are so soft-spoken that their loudest still sounds very quiet, but they can stay on pitch. Other voices have an extra portion of power, able to blow you away with a single note. In a choir setting, these people (and everyone in between) have to learn to work together. When a piece drops into a quieter verse or bridge, the choir relies on those quiet-but-consistent voices. As the song reaches to its grand climax, the choir builds up so they can support the powerhouse vocals that make the song soar. If anyone is not in tune with what the choir is doing, it hampers the beauty of the sound.
And it is important to make the distinction that nobody in the choir is ever perfect. Everyone will slip up at some time. They'll sing a wrong note, or sing out of turn, or forget to come in at a crucial spot. It happens to the best of us, no matter who you are. The key to surviving these mistakes is to keep going. You have to embrace the fact that you may mess up, and when it happens, you immediately move on, making a mental note to never do that again. (Somehow I developed a tendency to smile larger every time I messed up; there were some days I smiled a LOT.) You have to be able to embrace your limitations and not let them get the better of you, or it will become a bigger issue for the entire choir. If you can move on from it quickly, it will be far less noticeable.
If you've read my blog for any length of time, I'm sure you probably saw this coming, but this directly ties in to the life of the Church as well. to go along with the illustration, the Church is like one large choir singing and declaring the praises of God. This can be in how we sing, but mainly in what we do, how we interact with the world around us. None of us is perfect; we all constantly serve as our own reminders of our sinfulness and God's faithfulness to the unfaithful. But we can't let that weigh us down, nor can we try to pretend it never happened. That only draws attention to ourselves and away from the real focus: God the Father and Jesus Christ His Son, our Savior. We admit our shortcomings, praise God for His grace to His children, and continue singing the song of our lives.
And just like with a choir, the Church is at its strongest when it is gathered together, working in one accord. Sometimes there are soloists, people who see God working individually in their own lives. But none of us is meant to work entirely on our own. We need the strength and support from those around us. Certain situations will be more conducive to a certain person's skill set, and sometimes it takes the work of multiple people to make something work. But if we are united in the work of Christ, united in the goal of bringing Him glory, then it will be a beautiful sound in God's ears and a beacon into a very dark world.
Be involved in your church. Get to know those in the congregation with you. Spend time together studying God's Word. Find ways that you can work together for the cause of the gospel out in the world. You may be surprised just how much comes from it.
A simple servant of the Master.