Who can be in His orchestra?
Who can play the part?
[If you haven't already, read this post first. It lays out the analogy that I am about to expand upon.]
The symphony of creation was written by God to proclaim the glory of His love and goodness. We can hear parts of it being played as we look around and see the world. But where do humans fit into this analogy? Are we the players, or just the listeners. Do we fit in anywhere? This is how I see it:
Humans were meant to be the most important performers in the orchestra that plays the symphony. We were supposed to be the leading instrument section, merely backed up by the sounds of the rest of nature. The melodies of the stories of love that God wrote were designed for us to play in our lives. Our ultimate purpose is to participate in this perfect performance.
But the problem is that we decided not to play it. Every one of us has thrown down our instrument. It is broken and out of tune. Some of us start trying to play other things; some of us listen to the small, inferior jingles that others come up with; Some of us just try to ignore what is going on. We listen to our ipods on the side of the stage. We have sinned and fallen out of the orchestra. We cannot play in the perfect symphony like this. And if we cannot play, we have no purpose. We deserve to be cast out because we are ruining the perfect performance.
What are we to do about this? It is a dire situation indeed. The symphony is in progress, but the most important section in the orchestra is rebelling. Some of us try to play the part. We use legalism so that we look like we know what we are playing, but we don't play it all right. We need to play it better! But our heart is not invested in the symphony, so even if we appear to hit all of the notes, the music is not played with passion and is worthless. How can we fulfill our part in the orchestra if we cannot play the symphony right. How can this tragedy be fixed? Who will play the part? We deserve to be thrown off the stage by the disgusted Conductor/Composer and forgotten.
The Composer will not let his will be compromised so easily, though. He will have his symphony played. Since we have failed so miserably, He Himself will play. This is the most important part! The Creator has himself become a man, our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Composer has picked up an instrument at the climax of the piece and is playing our part for us. He is playing the perfect performance. And His new part covers ours, so that, if we rely on his playing, we can be brought back into the orchestra.
He did this because he loves us. He does not love us for what we are now - wretched slobs who always rebel, but He loves us for the potential we have to receive and show love - to play His symphony in His orchestra like no other part of His creation can.
For the rest of this movement of the symphony, all we have to do is listen to Jesus and learn from Him. The music does not rely on us. We have the teaching of the Holy Spirit to help us learn to play, and some of us are able to play a few notes, but we still mess up all the time and we can barely get a taste of what it is like to play the melodies of true love. We don't have harmony and we mess up the rhythms, but we are learning.
However, when the next movement comes along, we will again be able to play our full parts. We will get new instruments and will fulfill our original purpose. I am speaking of heaven here. Tragically, the players who continued their whole life to rebel against the Composer and did not rely on and look to Jesus will still not be fit for the orchestra. They will be thrown off the stage. They cannot be accepted because they have not proven that they can perfectly play the music of God's perfect love.
So will you be accepted into the orchestra at the end of your life on Earth? Do you want to play a symphony authored by the same mind that created the stars, life, and the love that you and I experience on earth? All that we are required to do is to recognize that we fail in this life - that we have failed to play our parts perfectly here - and then look to Jesus to meet this requirement in our stead. I am no longer speaking metaphorically. In real life, the historical Jesus lived a perfect life, but he was killed in our place, and God punished Him for our sin. This allows us to have a relationship with God as if we were perfect, and one day we will move into heaven into a new life where we can be perfect and fulfill our purpose.
It is remarkable how God reminds us of what's important. Before I wrote this, I had been thinking quite a bit about where humans fit into this analogy. Are we players, or are we just the audience? I kept thinking about how some people - the good people - get to enjoy the symphony by playing, but others do not. I had also been thinking about my life quite a bit - my poor performance - how I was messing up all the time, how I am not the perfect student and not a perfect friend. I was feeling down. How could I do any good? Then as I was sitting there at Breakaway, a song reminded me that I was missing the most important thing. Jesus makes up for my shortcomings in real life, and he is the key to the analogy. It is not the good people who get to enjoy playing the symphony, it is those who rely on the Word, the Logic of Life, Jesus Christ.