Something Bigger Than Ourselves

by Wendy


photo by W Coy. Use with permission

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

That afternoon I sang in a gorgeous, warm, intimate, wood-and-gilded 1891 hall named Carnegie. Not my first time there, but definitely my first time on stage. I listened and watched as the sound left our mouths and wafted high into the dome and the fifth balcony, swirling into patrons’ laps and dropping onto their faces with joy. We weren’t allowed to wear cologne, but someone’s shampoo smelled like orange blossoms. Resonance hung in the air with the scent. No one breathed. Perfect silence before the applause.

We were nobodies on that stage, but the hall and the composer/conductor wooed us into something bigger than ourselves.  The hall was like a living thing, a willing ally covering our mistakes; an unseen collaborator warming and shaping our sound and spinning it into gold as it danced between rounded walls. And we happily believed the sound and the audience’s warmth bouncing back to the stage.  We left the hall with that sparkling joy still glittering our hair and our faces.

Two mornings later it snowed, despite being more than a week after Easter and well into April.  Gloom and depression fell along with thick, foggy, slushy flakes which couldn’t stick because the ground was too warm.  Like the concert, the previous week’s hint of warmth was a tease of joy until reality crashed the party.

But what, I wondered through my mornings-after haze, was reality?  Was it the humdrum of life and the chasm of adrenaline crash? Or was there something more than acoustical magic going on in that hall?

Hope. Dreams. Hundreds of us singing in community.  Making sound that hadn’t been created until that moment and forming something which still lingered in our souls and our memories?

In that instant, God made the metaphorical connection and dropped it into my mind.  The warming and blending of our sound to create something not-of-us?  To make a golden treasure that warms hearts and brings joy?  That, that is what God does.  He takes our brokenness, our weakness, our sin, and covers it, saving us; He takes our individual small voices, and like that hall, creates something that we alone cannot make.  He sends that sound of His life out into a waiting world and changes it.

I watch the snow, which ends. Sunlight graces the afternoon; crocuses still promise Spring, and I know that in the six or seven weeks before my editor hits “publish” on these thoughts, the season will have fully changed and blossomed into beauty.  And I promise myself and Jesus that I will hold onto that golden reality of what He does—making something gorgeous out of something small and not-so-beautiful.  The dream is real.

What is He transforming for you, turning it to shimmering song?