Idolizing Diversity 2

Note: This post is a continuation of last week's Idolizing Diversity post. My final point was that it's easy to allow the injustices around me to take my eyes off of the God of justice. This is what I meant when I wrote that. My next-door-neighbor and dear friend Josie recently shared with me an image that she had of a symphony orchestra in which she is a violinist and God is the conductor. She said that even though her job as a violinist is to play her part well, it is easy to get distracted and look to see whether the other parts of the orchestra are playing their parts correctly and justly. It’s easy to look over at the others and think, “The trombones are too loud. I’ll play louder so that the audience can still hear me and the other violins” or “The oboes sound a little sharp. I’ll play louder so that the world will know that some people in this orchestra know what they’re doing.”

But Josie said that to take this approach is to forget that God is the conductor and that it’s God’s job to bring balance to the orchestra by leading some parts to increase in volume and leading others to quiet down. She added that it’s good for her to keep in mind that her job is to keep her eyes on the conductor and to only make a move when the conductor motions for her to do so. When the conductor leads her to step up and play loudly, she must follow. When the conductor leads her to take a step back and play more softly (or stop playing at all), she must follow. Being a maverick violinist is not part of her job description.

violins not violenceAs someone who’s passionate about reconciliation and gifted to lead others into it, it’s good for me to remember that my passion and gifting are most powerful when I’m following the Conductor’s wise lead. When I allow my passion and gifting to play conductor, I find that my only option is to get louder and meaner. More defensive tweets, more forceful writing, more aggressive responses to the trombones of power and privilege. This is tiring. And poor strategy– no matter how loudly a single violin plays, it will likely be overpowered by the trombones of the world that drown out or discredit diverse voices.

Simply playing louder and meaner isn’t a viable solution. (Besides, I hate the sound of a screeching violin.)

But when my message for reconciliation crescendos and decrescendos according to the strategic direction of the Conductor and in concert with other reconcilers, there’s resurrection power in SPEAKING UP AND OUT at certain times and resurrection power in staying quiet at other times (because sometimes silence is the wisest form of protest). And there’s immense freedom in knowing that the wise, good and just Conductor is always working (in seen and unseen ways), using the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to bring balance to the orchestra. I get to play a part in that justice work! (Oh, how this truth excites me!) But I have to keep my eyes on and follow the Conductor. Being a maverick reconciler is not part of my job description.

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. --Jesus to his followers (John 14)

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. -- Moses to the Israelites (Exodus 14)