Balance, A Much-Need Perspective

Finding a balance is of importance in many aspects of our lives, Our awareness of this often comes after we’ve discovered the consequences of a lack of balance.

Balance, a Much-Needed Perspective

        There are many ways in which people strive for a sense of balance.  After experiencing a few recent falls, I’ve learned that a cane can be a great help in maintaining my balance and walking confidently. Budgets need balancing in order to avoid spending more than we have.  Sometimes I’m prone to think about my needs more than the needs of others. As I compose and arrange music for a worship service or a music class, there’s a certain amount of tension between a desire to satisfy my tastes in music and consideration of the interests and perceived needs of others. 

    Sometimes it’s difficult to accept limitations.  When I hear a beautifully blended choir, like the group that sang for the tribute to Queen Elizabeth, I could become discouraged as I compare this with my achievements as a choir director. However, I’m encouraged as I think of the wonderful people that I’ve been privileged to make music with over a period of several decades. A choir, like a church, consists of “living stones”, a metaphor used in 1 Peter:2:5 to describe the members of a church.  A volunteer choir is like a mosaic.  A few musical “gems” can be a blessing, especially when their gifts are offered in a spirit of humility.  More often than not, we’re working with people who are not especially gifted or well-trained, yet very willing to learn.  When singers strive to blend their hearts and voices, it’s amazing what can be achieved.  Perhaps the greatest tension occurs when people striving for excellence conflict with those who are satisfied with mediocrity.  As a leader I desire to foster, by word and example, that there’s “joy in growing” both individually and together.  We’re made to grow in understanding, skill, love, and in serving with a sense of purpose,

     In my seminary class in “Worship Design” I invited the students to discuss numerous topics, and this sparked some worthwhile exchange of thoughts and feelings.  Here are some of the topics offered for discussion: 

  • The Transcendence of God and The Closeness of God
  • The Importance of Thinking and The Importance of Feeling
  • My Playlist of Favorite Songs and The Playlist of Others, Past and Present
  • Music Appropriate for the Skills of a Choir or Praise Team and Songs Appropriate for Congregational Worship
  • Songs That Speak of the Fullness of God’s Revelation and What Is Required of Us and Songs Covering a Limited, Truncated View
  • What a Person Does with His or Her Instrument and What Playing the Instrument Does for the Person.  
  • Idealism and Realism

When someone’s offering of music doesn’t please me, I need the grace to realize that it was likely meant for someone else who appreciates this style of worship music. I continue to be challenged by the phrase, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10, NIV) The following verse from Psalm 115:1 reminds us to be aware of “why” we sing, play, and serve in other ways.  “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory.”  (NLT)

(NLT = New Living Translation, NIV = New International Version of the Bible)

         Ron Sprunger, Professor emeritus at Ashland Theological Seminary

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