Melody or Harmony?

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harmonyCan you sing harmony?

Maybe first I should ask if you sing?

A lot of men get a little subconscious when they sing. I saw an awesome shirt a man was wearing at a men’s conference, “Real men sing real loud!” I love it!

So let’s assume that you do sing. Do you have the ability to sing harmony?

I unfortunately am not graced with that ability. My sons though, have learned how to harmonize and sound fabulous. Benjamin in particular has an amazing musical ability and can harmonize in ways that I find astounding. Clearly not an ability he inherited from me.

For those of you who may not know the difference between melody and harmony I will attempt to explain the two: Melody is the main music line of the song, that which you would typically sing along to. The harmony is a combination of notes that fits with the melody and dances around it – higher and lower than the melody notes. For example, the Beach Boys were famous for their multi-part harmonies. Obviously there are also innumerable other bands whose distinct sounds are generated partially from the harmonies they weave around the melody of the song.

The melody provides the foundation upon which the harmonies are built.

I heard a really profound story about harmony and melody this week. The story told of a mother who would tuck her young child into bed each night, and then they would sing together. One night the mother decided to sing a harmony to the song her child was singing. The child stopped singing and asked what she was doing. The mother told her child she was singing a harmony, which was a series of different notes that danced upon the foundation of the melody.

The child tried to harmonize, but couldn’t quite get the hang of it. However, they both continued to practice over the next number of weeks until the point where the child began to harmonize quite beautifully. The mother then shared this simple truth:

“This is like our life in Jesus. He is the melody, and our lives are a harmony built upon the foundation of His song in us.”

Wow. I was both touched and convicted.

I began to wonder if my life is built on the melody of Jesus with which I harmonize, or is it my melody with which I ask Jesus to harmonize?

How about you?

Hmmmmm – let’s ponder that…

It is so easy to fall into a mindset of asking Jesus to bless what we are doing, instead of taking time on a regular basis to get alone and get quiet to ask the Lord what He is saying – to listen to Him and follow His lead. “What is the melody You are singing Lord with which I can harmonize?”

That takes practice. Just like the young child had to practice harmonizing with her mother, we need to practice harmonizing with our Father. It’s not going to happen perfectly right at the beginning. In fact, it’s not going to happen perfectly ever – this side of heaven. We are going to sing a few wrong notes, go off key, and miss the rhythm, but that is what the grace of God is all about. All the Lord is looking for is for men who start by saying, “Lord I want to sing your melody, not mine, and I really need your help to be able to sing along with you.”

And you know what? I think to start out we first need to be able to sing the melody with the Lord before we start getting fancy with any harmonies. And if you see someone else who seems to be able to walk through life fabulously harmonizing with Jesus, don’t get down on yourself because you are just struggling to follow the melody line with Him. Keep following His lead and sing the song you hear Him singing.

I think the key lesson here is to ensure we are following God, and not asking Him to follow us to bless what we are doing. May we learn to follow the melody of God, singing along with Him to add a sound that is uniquely ours.

John 10:27

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Luke 14:27

“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

Psalm 40:2a-4

“He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.”

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An Invitation to Live in God-breathed Wholeheartedness.