What’s that sound?
Note from Pastor Kristi Graner
Adversity certainly leads to creativity. This weekend our family crammed three significant life milestones into three days. Here’s the backstory: between March 14, 2020 and June 1, 2021, we lost both my parents (not to Covid), but because of Covid, we couldn’t hold the funerals. Then our son got married, but they couldn’t have a wedding dance, and our niece and nephew graduated from college.
Since our extended family could not gather to celebrate these life moments together as they were happening, we did it ALL this past weekend. Family came in from all around the country. Thursday, we celebrated two college graduates. Friday, we celebrated the lives of two amazing people who are no longer with us. Saturday, we celebrated a new marriage and all that goes with that. Wow! What a weekend! It was wonderful to have everyone together to remember, celebrate, honor and receive blessing!
What we partner with is always so important, but especially at this point in history.
There is a lot going on which results in a huge variety of sounds and voices being released into our air waves: by radio, TV and by us. We can easily feel overwhelmed and shut down.
In Scripture there are three different words that are translated as people making a noise. Two are positive and one…not so much.
The negative sound can be seen in Matthew 9:23 and Mark 5:39 where Jesus went with a ruler to his home because his daughter was dead. Jesus heard the “noise” of people wailing and flutes playing a dirge. He told them all to leave because she was not dead but was asleep. They laughed at him and mocked him. He went into the house and took her by the hand, and she got up.
This Greek word translated as “noise” here is “thorybeo.” It means to set in an uproar, to trouble oneself.
It is the same word that we see in Acts 17:5 as a Jewish mob is stirring things up. Also, in Acts 20:10, where a young man dozed off, fell from a second story window and died. Paul threw himself on the young man’s body and told the people, “Don’t be thorybeo” (translation: don’t start screaming and wailing). He then got the young man up and he went home alive.
This “thorybeo” troubling noise is what we hear when we listen to things that cause us to be upset, troubled, and confused. And we all know there is so much of that going on all around us these days.
It is essential that we recognize that in all instances where this stirring, troubling, confusion and upset noise is being released, we as followers of Jesus can “shift” the atmosphere and release God’s truth.
We do this by utilizing “symphonia” and “psallo.”
The word “symphonia” is only seen once in the New Testament. It is the sound of unity. It is a concert of instruments making a beautiful sound. It is the sound that the older brother hears in Luke 15:23 when he returns from the field and hears the celebration his father is throwing for his younger prodigal brother.
It is true that the older brother was not thrilled to find out that the celebration was for his brother, but he did recognize the beautiful sound of celebration in unity. The sound of many instruments making a unique sound yet harmonizing together. It is the sound of a kingdom celebration organized by our heavenly Father with an orchestra.
In contrast, there is a corporate sound, where many unique instruments are playing but not harmonizing or following their conductor. That is the unsettling uproar of thorybeo. This can be the sound of God’s people all speaking truth without the connection of love.
We are not following our “conductor” Jesus as we release this sound as chaos and disharmony. We are just sounding out. Like the resounding gong mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13, we only bring confusion and disturb people when we do this.
Yet when we corporately speak out truth, with love, as we follow the direction of our orchestra conductor named Jesus, we release a beautiful, harmonious sound that will attract the nations.
Most importantly, we focus on the sound “psallo.” This is the Greek word that describes what it sounds like when we make a beautifully melody with our heart towards the Lord. This is our individual sound.
Psallo. Paul uses this word to encourage the Ephesians in chapter 5 verse 19, “Sing and make music in your hearts toward the Lord.” This is our individual and private heart song to the Lord. It brings peace to our soul and calms our agitation. This word is also used in 1 Corinthians 14:15 when Paul describes how he keeps his peace. Paul says he will “sing with the spirit, but he will sing with his mind also.” That word translated as “sing” is psallo – to make a melody with your heart towards the Lord.
There is one more verse in Scripture that contains this Greek word psallo, James 5:13, which directs us to sing praises (psallo) when we are cheerful. This is our spiritual strategy to release the sound of heaven into the atmosphere around us. I think we should rephrase the old children’s song to be, “if you are happy and you know it, sing your song!”
By singing our personal love song to the Lord, we are making a positive change in us and around us.
Remember – we are called as followers of Christ not to merely take the temperature of the world around us as a thermometer would, merely reporting and agreeing with the chaos and disharmony (thorybeo).
Our God knows what it is like for us. He sends us out equipped to change the world and it starts in our hearts.
Because of our Savior Jesus and God’s Spirit in us, we are equipped to be a thermostat that changes the temperature around us. With these spiritual tools (symphonia and psallo) we are equipped to either turn up the spiritual heat or bring calm to an agitated environment.
My prayer for you is that the peace of God will keep your thoughts and your heart quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7 (NLT)).
I pray that God’s peace will spark creativity in you as you wrestle with daily realities of life at this point in history. He is with you and He cares about you.
Love and blessings,