“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14)
In high school, my favorite English teacher was Mrs. Dowdy. She has some pretty good stories she could tell you about my class, including one concerning a viewing of Romeo and Juliet our freshman year. I was blessed to have her again for College Prep English my senior year, and several assignments from that year made a lasting impression on me. There is one that I remember because of my failure.
We were to pick a single word and write a paper detailing that word’s history and usage, including if it was used in the Bible. Being the very clever and creative teenager that I was, I tried to pick an original word that no one else would even consider. My word was “harmony.” While I don’t recall the exact wording, I may never forget Mrs. Dowdy’s ingenious review of my paper, referencing its ironic lack of harmony.
Harmony is precious to me. Few things bring me more deep-seated joy than a well-rounded, full chord of beautiful music, particularly vocal music. From the deepest bass to the highest soprano, the chord is only complete with all of the intervals in between represented.
Perhaps that is why a recent explanation of 2 Peter 1:5-7 was so satisfying to me. Many people refer to this as the “add to” passage. I have heard many discussions about whether these aspects of character are stepping stones, or maybe links in a chain, or even sequential qualities, reaching its fullness in love. None of those have ever “rung true” with me but a recent explanation did.
I know I am biased about the speaker and the source she revealed (my mom, who referenced my dad) but when she said this, 2 Peter 1:5-7 finally made the most sense to me. She said these qualities – faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love – are to harmonize together, much like the notes of a well-developed chord of music. I immediately got a picture of a skilled maestro gesturing to each section of the orchestra to swell and fill in the chord in perfect harmony. All are equally important and yet unique. Each fills the precise need of the whole in order for it to be at its best.
With that in mind, read the following words from Romans 15:5-6: “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [emphasis added]
May we all live in harmony – with God, with each other, and with ourselves – to the glory of God.
AUTHOR: Amber Tatum
Photo background credit: Southern Arkansas University on Creative Commons