Last night my friend Amy gave an awesome presentation to the women of our church. Amy is an incredible singer and voice teacher and she pulled illustrations from teaching someone to sing and related them to the Christian life. Not only did it make me miss my years of singing, but it made sense, I really got what she was trying to say.
This morning, as I was thinking back on her presentation I thought of a few parallels of my own.
When I was in seventh grade I sang in choir. At the beginning of the year the music teacher listened to us all and then assigned us our parts; he put me in the alto section. I HATED being an alto. Being an alto was no fun; we never got the beautiful melodies that the sopranos got, we just plodded along with our supporting lines. I thought it was so dull. I wanted to shine like the sopranos, the stars of the songs.
In my eighth grade year I somehow convinced him to put me in the soprano section. Finally! I was one of the ones who got to carry the song, the IMPORTANT part. I had a hard time hitting some of those high notes, but so what? I was important! I sat in the back row with the rest of the first sopranos and let me tell you, we were the most self-superior bunch of eighth grade sopranos you ever laid eyes on.
Fortunately I did some growing up between then and my junior year in high school when I qualified to sing in the concert choir. I learned that I am not a soprano after all, I am an alto through and through. No amount of singing Sandy Patty songs and straining to hit those high C notes was going to turn me into a soprano. I could train my voice to broaden my range a bit, but I couldn’t change the God-given range I had. Now granted, as you move beyond eighth grade choir you get to sing music in which each part has its chance to shine, but the other parts are still needed to serve as a base for the ones carrying the melody. Even when my part isn’t particularly exciting (there’s a hymn in which the altos get to sing a grand total of 2 notes through the entire song), it’s still necessary.
How many times in church do we wish that we were the ‘sopranos’? The musicians up on stage, the gifted leaders and teachers, the people who do the stuff that seems important to us? We aren’t all sopranos. Many of us are needed to play the supporting roles. To type the bulletins, pick up the trash, wipe the noses in the nursery, or just be there offering support and encouragement to those doing the tough jobs. When we are all singing in the part God intended for us, the church is alive with the music of Christ.
Listen. Close your eyes and just listen to how each part supports the whole. Imagine what it would sound like with just the soprano line. And be thankful for the part that you’ve been created to sing.