Unity Vs. Harmony

by Nan Corbitt Allen

I love music. Always have and always will. My mother told me that I could hum the tune to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” before I could talk. Part of my affection for the art is hereditary (my dad sang in a gospel quartet) and the other part is just an inborn ability that I was encouraged to cultivate.

I remember singing hymns in “big church.” I still love and remember so many of those great, old songs.  But we sang in Sunday School, too. Now every Sunday I sing a little tune I learned there, and the words that go like this:

Sunday morning/clear and cool, I meet my friends at Sunday School. Friends of mine/are friends of Jesus. He’s a friend to me.

I have no idea who wrote it, but it has been a part of my Sunday routine for over 60 years.

As I got a little older, I became a part of a children’s choir at my church. (Oh, that we would revive this tradition!) I learned there that when everyone sings the same note at the same time, it’s called unison. Then, as I got even older, unison meant that, yeah, we sang the same note, but the boys sang it an octave lower…ideally.

Next, I learned about harmony. First, it was alto. Someone sang the melody, the “lead,” and someone else sang another note below it. My dad taught me how to hear that alto note and sing it. Then, in youth choir, (again, that we would revive this tradition!) I started hearing “boy notes”—tenor and bass. Imagine, everyone singing a different note and it sounding beautiful. (Well, most of the time anyway.) When I got to college and sang in the university chorale, we added many more parts and it became down right heavenly.

All of this to say that it dawned on me recently that when we strive for unity in the world or in the church, that’s a good thing, even though men and women actually have different takes on that, just like in unison singing. Oh, that we would see things exactly the same way—what a world that would be!

However, just as wonderful would be to live in harmony. Each singing a different note, but blending and making an incredible sound. Why can’t we do that? Why not blend ideas and passions? Can we not hold our own pitches and let others do the same and together make beautiful…well, you know?

I don’t believe that unity in the world is feasible. There’s too much hate and deceit and influence of evil forces. It’ll never happen. But in the church, yes, it’s possible that we can have unity, especially about things that are irrefutable. Like the Truth.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (1 Peter 3:8 ESV).

Some ideas are non-negotiable, like the truth of the Bible. We must be united in those things.

Though harmony might not be a reality in this diverse world, it is feasible, when it includes listening to each other and treating the other person, and his or her ideas, as valuable. Here’s the idea, especially in the church. Paul writes,

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all” (Romans 12: 16-18 ESV).

A good word. And another from the same guy.

And above all…put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:14 -15 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Nan Corbitt Allen

About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 45+ years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books.

Nan and Dennis retired in 2020 from full time teaching at Truett McConnell University. They now live south of Nashville. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image.jpeg

Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: Does your church struggle with unity? How are you dealing with that?

Love Songs

by Christina Rose

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

Spring is here, heralding in blossoming trees, blooming flowers, new babies, sunny skies, spring showers, and fresh hope for the new year. As a tiny child, I watched my mother spend hours on a cold autumn day digging holes to bury bulbs in the ground. When spring arrived, those little bulbs would burst forth with a spectacular colorful display of daffodils, tulips, and crocus. In the early spring mornings, the robins would perch on the fence by my mother’s flowers, bursting with love songs of God’s glory and giving voice to the joy it is to be alive.

We sang as well: my father sang in the choir, while my mother sang with us children in the pews. As we grew older, we were introduced to love songs at dances and weddings, where beautiful melodies would inspire people to fall in love. New parents are so filled with love they can’t help but sing over their babies with joy. I cherish memories of the many hours I sang my babies to sleep as I rocked them by my window that overlooked San Francisco bay.

As my daughters grew up, my songs became less frequent as they became busy with their own lives. Then my songs were suddenly silenced by my father’s suicide. While I never lost my faith, I did lose my joy. The days felt long and my sleep was constantly interrupted by bouts of anxiety attacks, wondering when the next unexpected tragedy might strike. My marriage then ended, I imagine partly because if I couldn’t find peace within, how could I find it with someone else?  Now the anxiety in caring solo for two young daughters increased my already overloaded night watch of keeping the darkness at bay.

My daughters grew up to be successful and independent. As I grew in faith, I was called to write. That process included many trials, like making seven moves in seven years. One daughter joined me, which was a great comfort, but recently she chose to move far away.

I felt lost. I couldn’t understand what God was up to. As I sat looking at the Rockies, I called out, “God, I’ve done everything you wanted me to, what do you want me to do now?”

A soft whisper answered, “Go to church”.

As I entered Cherry Hills Community Church for the first time, the amazing worship band was leading everyone in song. Thousands were on their feet, with hands in the air, singing passionate songs of praise. Before long, I was singing along with them like a wannabe Christian Rockstar.

And then an amazing thing happened – my nightly anxiety attacks left me. The fear had gone, and instead I was awakened by beautiful worship songs. One of my favorites is “Raise a Hallelujah” by Bethel Music. It expresses the idea that our praise can actually be a weapon against the things that cause us anxiety. Praise is an act of trust in the character and power of God.

Like the little bulbs that spend the winter under the pressure of the dark earth, God can help us burst out of the heavy darkness to sing for joy and bloom for His glory. He gives the gift of song to all creatures of the earth– so we can praise Him and sing love songs to one another.

God’s love endures forever. If you have lost your song, pray that God will lead you to others who can help you sing again.

“But as for me, I will sing about your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about your unfailing love. For you have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to you I sing praises, for you, O God, are my refuge,  the God who shows me unfailing love.” (Psalm 59:16-17 NLT)

TWEETABLE
Love Songs – encouragement from Christian Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What songs help you sing for joy in this dark time?