The Band

To be “in Christ” -- what is that?

Here's my analogy:

An invitation goes out to join the band. It’s supposed to be the greatest thing ever, at least someday. Those who respond must believe the director really knows what he’s doing, despite the fact no one has yet heard a performance. And the potential players must also believe there will be a reward for those who seek him out: the best music, ever, is promised to be played by this band.

So you decide, along with several others, to join. There’s something about the director and his plans for the band that, well, strikes a chord within you. You’re somewhat weary, also, of trying to make music on your own and failing. This director’s radical message says there really is no true “sound” apart from his expertise. Sure, you've heard musicians who make a sincere attempt that comes very close to the art you seek. You’ve even followed the careers of a few of them and tried to imitate their styles. But it’s become apparent each time that their music, no matter how well it goes on for a while, ends up lacking authenticity. And you see in your own tuneful meanderings that, while you seem to have been made for musical greatness, there remains a barrier you’re just not able to overcome in order to reach it. You admit you’ve been beaten by something un-musical within yourself.

You and many musicians who’ve joined the new group begin jamming. The written music challenges you; in fact, you must take it bit by bit, being unfamiliar with the somewhat obscure style. You are tentatively encouraged and excited the more you practice, however. This director/composer’s stuff fits with the music bound to your deepest inner being.

Time passes. What becomes more apparent, that you hadn’t noticed at first, is you and the others aren’t performing yet. Practicing, yes; you can’t really keep from it. But, while the hard work at playing for yourself is taking you to places you hadn’t imagined before, you’ve not yet experienced a reward in terms of satisfaction with the group. Others feel this frustration acutely; a few have walked out. This is surely not the way to run a band, they’ve said, upon shutting the door.

You agree, to a point. It seems if you were in charge the situation would be handled differently. But when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter how this director does things. You trust him.

You believe in this music you’re playing, because all your experience tells you it’s the real deal. Being a part of it (even just dwelling in the “shadow” of individual practice) is enough for now. You long for the fulfilled promise, for the complete orchestra to come together and perform. At the same time, you are content with what you’re doing. You recognize you’re “in” what is happening to you as your commitment to the music grows. You’re fully engaged, just as this music belongs, somehow, in you.

Tough questions continue to barrage you and your fellows, from other band members and those who’ve never joined. Over time you see the reason for staying with your practice boils down to a deep, abiding interest shared by those of you who remain. You consider the challenges to your belief in the director and his promises. You remain serious, in thought and in dialogue with others. Profoundly, though, you remain in the band.