|by Phil Ware
I have always loved the rich sound of a good twelve string guitar. Although I very seldom get to play it, one of my prize possessions is an old twelve string guitar my dad got me shortly before his death. The octave tuning of the two sets of six strings gives each chord, each strum, and even each pluck, a richness that a six string can't quite match. But...
Twelve string guitars are glorious or BAD! One string just a little out of tune poisons the whole chord. Two slightly out of tune and it's awful! With twelve strings to contend with, the guitar doesn't stay in tune very long. With different thicknesses and lengths, the strings are very susceptible to falling out of tune after a song or two, or even just sitting in the guitar case. You mix in temperature changes, humidity fluctuations, and being bumped around a little and you find the down side of having such a rich sounding instrument: you are always tuning the twelve string!
Does that sound familiar to you?
Life is sometimes hard, nearly always hectic, and incessantly stressful. Many of the pressures we face are beyond our control. We find our lives with the Lord and his people constantly knocked out of tune. Satan does all he can to arouse suspicion, twist words, inflame passions, promote dissension, entrap in sin, stir up gossip, and hurt feelings. He does all he can to take the rich harmony of God's people and make it sound foul and out of tune. So what do we do?
In a way, that's what "going to church" is all about. We come and gather around the central events of our faith-Jesus' death, burial and resurrection-together. We offer up our hears, our prayers, our voices to praise the One True and Living God, together. We repent of our sins and commit to honor Jesus as Lord, together. We come to learn about each other and our shared struggles so we can encourage the weak and lift the fallen, together.
I'm not sure why God put a weekly, seven day rhythm into our world, but he did. He gave the Israelites the Sabbath, Saturday, to be a day of rest. He gave Christian believers Sunday, the first day of the week to be our day of new life and victory over death and sin. We ignore this rhythm, we miss tuning ourselves to his truth, at our own peril. So this week as you see Sunday approaching, don't look at it as merely "going to church." Recognize it for what it really is. God is tuning his twelve string so when he plays it during the week, to a world in dire need of sweet music, each song is rich with his love and tuned to his grace.
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