June 2, 2017

Earlier this week I found two of my worlds colliding as I was listening to the radio driving home from the Oklahoma Annual Conference (our yearly business meeting for all United Methodists in the state). I was listening to the classical station and The Rite of Spring came on. For those who don’t know, I was a music major in college and played the trombone at OCU in the orchestra. For one of our concerts we played The Rite of Spring so it really piqued my interest when I heard it on the radio. When I hear it, the complexities of it and the sometimes ambiguous tonality and rhythmic patterns sound beautiful to me. But not everyone who has heard this piece would agree with me.

Igor Stravinsky premiered the piece 104 years ago this last week in Paris, France as a ballet. On the night it premiered, it was so different and complex from what people were used to seeing and hearing that it almost started a full riot in the audience because they were so disturbed by what they considered to be terrible noise rather than beautiful music.

As I was listening to it I couldn’t help but draw the parallels to what I was seeing this week in the United Methodist Church, in our nation, and in our world. Sometimes we have very complex issues that we face that have lots of ambiguity. We find ourselves on opposing sides of theological or political debates from one another. Too often, we see people resort to name-calling and demonizing those who stand on the other side until it almost turns into a riot.

Yet, when I see all the complexities, mystery, and diversity, I see that as what makes our Church, nation, and world so beautiful. The fact that we can all live together, love each other, and share common goals and dreams for life and our community really makes this a special place. When you come across complexities, differences, ambiguity, and mystery, don’t run away from it. Embrace it and cherish it for the beautiful work of God that it is!