But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18 (NIV)
I work in our city’s downtown, and my office is three or four blocks from some of the other offices with whom I regularly interact. Because parking, and now gas, is at a premium, when I visit those employees several times a week, I walk through the downtown. On rainy days, I cross through a church facility taking advantage of their covered sidewalks. I suppose that is why hand bell choirs are on my mind these days. On my last trip, I saw a sign advertising practices for their hand bell choir. Briefly, I wondered if you had to be a member to participate. What fun it would be to play hand bells again. I realized I do not have time to add anything else to my schedule, but for a moment, I recalled how much enjoyment being “a ringer” gave me. Those choir practices and performances are among my most treasured memories of my youth. Yet, sometimes, I was not happy with my role in the choir. I always wanted to be among the girls who played the smallest bells. While I admired the strong boys who could sling the heavy bass bells with ease, it was the tiny treble bells I wanted to play. Those bells trilled and sang with such gaiety as the girls manipulated several in each hand at once. They added flourish and pizzaz to our music while the bass bells boomed out the rythym. I never was assigned to either the big bells or the little ones. Instead, my lot was always to be right in the middle of the choir, playing the medium sized bells that made up the melody line. I sometimes felt like I just played along at the direction of the bass’ rythym to my left while above me to my right, the party raged among the higher notes. Looking back now, I know how important each ringer’s part was in creating the music. The song was a product of all the bells. My contribution was to balance out the low notes and the high ones and keep the song going. Funny, in life, that is often my role as well. All around me are people who have opinions about how things should be played. Some think one direction is best, others want a completely different plan. I tend to find myself somewhere in the middle, taking ideas from one, then, another. Askign questions, putting pieces together to help form a whole. I’m not one to seek the limelight with high notes and flourishes, neither am I one to just plod along, “Boom, boom, boom,” in time to the rythym. I like pulling everyone together so that a melody emerges full of harmony and strength. I feel that is where God has placed me for this time in my life. I guess a long time ago, another conductor saw that quality in me as well. And that is why he always put me in the middle of the bell choir.