Freedom from Fear and Violence: Methodists against Gender Based Violence – The Church as a safe space
Readings: Ezekiel 47: 1-12, Revelation 21:22 – 22:5, 1 Timothy 2: 1-15
One of the gifts we have been given by God is the gift of music. Music, regardless of genre, has the ability to help us give expression to those emotional experiences that we may not have words for. Some music helps us celebrate our joy, some helps us weep our tears, some gives words to our desires, some helps us give life to our experience of longing, of melancholy, of fear, of serenity and of any emotion experienced by humanity. Music has been a part of creation from before humanity was a part of creation. The first wind that blew through the first leaves heard creation’s song of praise to the Creator.
I think the most incredible musical experience for every person is an orchestra (or band or group or duet) that is so well connected with itself that the heart of the composer is fully expressed in their harmony and those who are hearing it, including the members of the orchestra, are able to connect with those emotions as the music provides the space for them to realize those same emotions that lay within their own hearts.
When each member of the orchestra has their focus on the conductor and is attentive to the other players; then they form a part of this incredible experience in harmony with the other players. When each member of the orchestra has their focus on the conductor then it becomes a way in which we can be transported to a place of worship for who we have been created to be. For that moment we are safe to experience our own souls as the music provides the place for it to be expressed. When the focus is on the other players, the members lose sight of the conductor and the music of life turns into a cacophony of heartache.
As those whose eyes should be fixed on the Great Composer (God the Father), led by the Great Conductor (God the Holy Spirit) and the Lead Musician (God the Son), the music of our lives should bring all people into an experience of the heart of God as together we glorify the God who wrote the music of life and together we help bring the experience of God alive for others to become aware of what is going on in God’s heart. There is not a single person who is more important than another, there is not a single instrument that is of greater value than any other; the triangle carries as much weight as the violin because if even one is missing or out of time, the music is not as complete and perfect as it should be.
Every member of the Church is a part of this orchestra and as with an orchestra where no instrument is particular to a specific gender or race or culture or language, so neither should any ministry within the church be particular to a specific gender or race or culture or language. In the same way that we choose not to hear a beautiful piece of music because we don’t believe a particular gender should be playing an instrument, we will not receive the message of God because we believe the Holy Spirit would not gift a particular gender with a particular gift. It is the prejudice we find exhibited in the church that we take into our homes and find manifested in our relationships. It is the poor understanding of the sacredness of all of creation that is expounded in our places of worship that we find being put into practice in our communities. It is the lies we tell ourselves with the backing of a pulpit that ensures we do not remain free from fear and violence.
Keep your eyes fixed on the Great Composer, be led by the Great Conductor and the Lead Musician so that your life will be in harmony with the music of life and that the song of your heart that is expressed in your words and actions will offer healing to the nations.