“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” (Colossians 3 MESSAGE)
This is a particularly happy free rendering of the Greek by Eugene Peterson. It has a glorious mixture of metaphors which never fails to make me smile. One thread of meaning that he draws out is that fellowship is like the performance of music.
I’m a musician (of sorts) and have played guitar or piano in public worship for all my adult life. I have not, however, learnt to restrain my facial muscles from… er…quivering, when a wrong note or a vocal disharmony or badly tuned instrument jars the flow. My wife tells me that my face takes on the appearance of someone who has found a mouse in the Cornflakes.
But when we get it right, ah, that’s the moment when I understand what “Shalom” means. Peace, order, discipline, harmony, mutual respect, love and commitment… all these things are expressed in the music that is well-played. Together.
Vincent van Gogh said: “In the end we shall have had enough of cynicism, skepticism and humbug, and we shall want to live more musically.”
I somehow read this interpretation in a marvelous book by E Stanley Jones called
“The inner life is bruised by a running against the laws of the Kingdom. The bruises are guilt complexes, a sense of inferiority, of missing the mark, of being out of harmony with God and with oneself, a sense of wrongness. Divine forgiveness wipes out all that sense of inner hurt and condemnation. Brings a sense of at-homeness- at home with God and oneself and with life. The universe opens its arms and takes one in. You are accepted- by God, by yourself, and by life. All self-loathing, self-rejection, all inferiorities drop away. You are a child of God; born from above, you walk the earth, a conqueror, afraid of nothing. Healed at the heart, you can say to life: “Come on, I’m ready for anything.”