Play My Part


Last year I got to witness the Nashville Symphony perform the original soundtrack of the film La La Land at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. The movie was displayed on a large screen while the symphony accompanied it in the background. It was one of the most spectacular events I’ve ever seen / heard / felt. I found myself not knowing what to look at: the screen, the conductor, the violin section, the piano player…?? So much to process and take in! It was amazing to witness all of the separate parts being played together to create this harmonious beauty that evoked all kinds of emotion, especially when paired with the film.

One of the definitions of symphony is “harmony of sounds.” One of the definitions of harmony is “a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.” The thing that makes a symphony work is every single musician playing the music that’s in front of them while paying attention to the conductor. All of the individual parts were specifically designed to work together for the greater good of the whole. The individual parts are impressive but the sound of them all together is breathtaking. Every now and then one of the violinists would have a solo. Or sometimes one of the sections would play louder and draw attention to themselves. But the goal wasn’t to draw attention to themselves, it was to communicate a dynamic that served a purpose in the music score. So the symphony works because everybody plays his or her part, then when it all adds up you have this beautiful sound that no one could ever do all alone.

Imagine if a violin player thought to herself, “I have worked SO hard to get to where I am. The part that I’m playing is so brilliant! People MUST hear me.” Or if a trumpet player thought that his part was more important than anybody else’s. Imagine a symphony full of musicians who didn’t pay attention to the conductor or the specific dynamics on their sheet music. It would be a hot mess.

I truly believe that in God’s kingdom things aren’t different. So many of us are running around saying “Look at how hard I’ve worked! Please notice me!” We’re so focused on what we’re doing that it’s easy to forget we are part of a bigger symphony. And that the Creator, Redeemer and Restorer is conducting us and leading us. Just a reminder for us to focus on the sheet music in front of us, to play our part to the best of our ability while recognizing that our part plays a role in a MUCH BIGGER PURPOSE.

The beautiful and inspiring truth is that our part matters! The unique authenticity that we bring plays a specific role, just like the authenticity of a musician's personal touch. When Justin Hurwitz composed the music for La La Land, he wrote out the specific parts with intentionality. He had in mind the vision of the film, working closely alongside the screen writer Damien Chazelle. They worked together to ensure that all of the components fit together in congruity, and might I say did an incredible job! If you haven't seen it, watch it, it's brilliant. I can't believe they dreamt that up in their minds and actually executed everything! Reminder: they were both made in God's image, reflecting just a small glimpse of His infinitely wise and genius ways of working all things together. You're a part of that plan. I'm a part of that plan. But if we ignore His voice we can't know His plan and we can't play our part.

Another practical reminder: the key way to play our part is to know who God is, who we are and who we were meant to be. The world will try to define us all day every day, but I believe the secret to our identity / spiritual DNA is found in the Bible. The book of Romans is a great place to start! Cheers.

Brian Reith1 Comment