It’s : we pull up folding chairs for the folkjam, and out come the guitars. “Play me an E” I say to the person sitting next to me, who obliges. I play the E string on my own guitar, listening, asking: “am I sharp or flat?” We may both rotate our , try the string again, listen. My guitar is maybe more warm in tone, his more crystal and clear, but this difference makes it all the more perfect when finally one common “E” sings out from both instruments, together.
In this sense, I suggest “getting in tune” as a helpful analogy and theme for thinking about our life together as a congregation this coming year. Members of the church council, at our last retreat, expressed a desire to feel more connected with one another: what’s going on in the lives of the people in the pew next to us? What dreams or concerns do members have? What is God doing among us? How do we share this? Also, how do we get more “in tune” with the people outside our doors? Congregations so often assume they know what people want. How do we better engage and learn about our neighbors? Compassion – a central value for us – isn’t just about acts of kindness, but about recognizing and responding to one another in the truth of our situation.
The foundation for all this work of getting in tune is faith – that is, our getting in tune with God. When I play my E and Randy plays his, we may be both playing an F. The orients us again to the true sound of E. Worship enables to hear God’s word, that true “E,” opening our ears and hearts to see one another and the way forward. Christ isn’t “just history” but risen and alive: he calls us, and “the sheep follow because they know his voice.”(John 10:5) We’re not just believers, but also followers, never done listening and learning. Jesus prays that we might be in tune with God’s love: “as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us … that they may be one, as we are one.”(John 17)