We attended the Terre Haute Symphony last night. The guest artist was Stephen Kim, a 15 year old violinist from California. He was incredible! The name of the concert was "Catch A Rising Star," and he definitely is! I have never heard such beautiful sounds coming from a violin before! But what I enjoyed even more was watching the musicians perform together. It is obvious that each one is gifted, but also that they have spent many hours practicing alone before coming together.
As I watch them perform, I am always reminded of the body of Christ. The Bible says we are part of one Body, of which Christ is the head. Each part is gifted and needed for the effective functioning of the body. (See Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12.) That's the way it is in the symphony. Each person is part of the greater body, and each does his or her part to bring forth exquisite music together. Some play more than others. Some musical compositions are written to showcase specific instruments. I believe our life in the body of Christ is to be like that, too. The key, though, is the time spent alone with God before we're asked to play, cultivating a relationship with Him, becoming aware of the gifts He has given us and developing them for use when we come together in our meetings. He, as the Great Conductor, can then use us in any way He sees fit. And just as it is in the symphony, sometimes we will play only a small part in what is happening, sometimes our part is monumental, but the key is to let the Conductor bring out the best in whoever is playing at the time.
It seems to me that traditional church services have evolved into spectator events where the worship leader and the pastor are the only two people using their gifts (with the exception of a few in the praise band, if there is one) while the rest of us watch and critique the job they're doing. They are expected to perform--to do all the work. That would be like expecting the conductor of the symphony to play all the music himself instead of orchestrating the musicians into playing the songs!
I believe changes are about to be made in the way we do church.