From Greg Twombley, Director of Ministries & Praise Team Leader …
Recently, a musician friend of mine was going through what no musician wants to go through; his hearing had become impaired by an ear issue which made all music sound like “clanging cymbals”. Not good.
This got me thinking about St. Paul’s message to the Corinthians, people who placed a high value on spiritual gifts. And in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul writes eloquently about some of these highly valued gifts: speaking in languages of people and angels, prophesy, knowledge, faith, charity, even martyrdom.
And, as Paul cuts to the heart of the matter so well, mentions that without love, none of these things mean anything. In fact he says, ‘if I have not love, I am only a resounding gong or clanging cymbal’.
My friend went through a difficult period of some weeks with this hearing issue, unable to practice his craft, though never gave up on his love for his family, his love for God, and his love for music, all the while praying that his hearing would return to normal and music could be enjoyed again and not sound like clanging cymbals.
I got to wondering: what is hearing anyway?
Is hearing something that is such a true gift from God that we spend our lives taking it for granted, not embracing it, and thereby perhaps not hearing the things we should listen to and even tuning out things as a byproduct of taking this gift for granted? Have we heard the words “I love you” and “I choose you” from God, whether on a soft breeze, in that place between waking and asleep, or even in the silence?
By the way, some wise folks think that angels do not speak at all. Paul mentions the gift of speaking as angels, though there is the thinking that angels do not speak for they have no need. Perhaps they can do as God does in our lives sometimes when He makes secret impressions of His will and love upon our minds, though no words are spoken. Angels perhaps speak in silence as God tends to do.
Simon and Garfunkel talked about the sound of silence, which at face value doesn’t seem to make sense.
…a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Within the sound of silence.
…“Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
These days people are talking about all kinds of things, though what is the noise and what is the message we should pay attention to? This is not a new problem, though for many there is lots of time to think about such things.
My friend’s hearing returned to normal, and I know he appreciates hearing all the more, though something good happened in the periods of necessary silence; as he escaped the clanging cymbals, he heard God’s words of faith, hope and love.
There is a song, “The Gift of Love”, based on a Scottish folk tune and St. Paul’s words to the Corinthians and I’d like to share the lyrics.
The Gift of Love
Though I may speak with bravest fire,
And have the gift to all inspire,
And have not love, my words are vain,
As sounding brass, and hopeless gain.
Though I may give all I possess,
And striving so my love profess,
But not be given by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin.
Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control,
Our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed;
By this we worship, and are freed.
May you be blessed today and every day by the gift of God’s unending love and may you hear and share the words, “I love you” and “I choose you”.