Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 1 Peter 3:8 (NIV)
Growing up, I played in a hand bell choir. Imagine a school bell like that of a long ago teacher as she called her students into class, and you have an idea of what hand bells look like. Magnify or miniaturize your vision because depending on the number of bells in a set, they range from eighteen inches across all the way down to one inch in diameter. The larger the bell, the deeper and lower the note. The smaller the bell, the higher it plays. In a hand bell choir, everyone is assigned a bell or several bells each of which corresponds to a note on the musical scale. Depending on its size or the members’ skill, music of several octaves can be played. A choir works together to stay in rhythm, and each individual member takes care to keep track of where they set their bells down on the table and when they are supposed to be played. Sometimes, those assigned to the smaller bells can even hold as many as three bells in one hand. If they are turned different directions, by twisting your wrist you can keep all but the one that you want to play silent. As we progressed in experience, we received more bells to play and on a fast paced piece, it was quite a task to keep them all straight and make sure the correct note was played at the right time. We kept our eyes on the conductor and followed his lead. We watched him carefully to know the rhythm of the piece and its timing. You could always tell when someone messed up because even with thirty or more bells in the song, the discord stood out clearly. It has been a long time since I played hand bells. The church we attend now does not have a set. Not only are they expensive to purchase and maintain, but who has the time and patience to gather a group of people together to learn to play bells when you have electronic equipment to quickly do the job? It is a shame for I learned much about teamwork and getting along in a group during choir practices. No one could be prima dona. It took everyone to create the music. I just recently had a discussion with some friends about what it means to live in harmony. They contended that harmony is equal to unity. That we all have to believe the same way in order to get along. I don’t think so. I think that harmony means that we don’t all have to sing the same note as long as we keep our eyes on our conductor. In fact, it is the variety of the notes that makes the song lovely. How boring playing only one note would be! I think about my days in hand bell choir. Even with unique bells ringing at different times, harmony prevailed. The music reminds me of the One who brings the notes together.