In Matthew 18 Jesus talks about two or three gathering together in His name and him being in the midst of them. He also says that if two or three gather together and “agree” on anything He will be there with His merciful presence. The word He uses in Greek is the word that gives us “symphony”. I was thinking about that the other day. A symphony orchestra plays the same piece of music but they don’t all play the same notes. The piano may be doing something while the violins are doing something else and the woodwinds are doing something different as well and yet all of it is the same piece of music. We certainly don’t all have to sing the same note to be in “symphony”. We have to be singing the same song.
In our day and age that is harder to do than to say. We seem to living in a world of soloists who want things their way and if they don’t get it they will make your life miserable. It is refreshing, on occasion, to find someone that is good at what they do and who for a common good is willing to do something for others. At the same time they will tell you honestly what they think, make their points and then make a gracious statement that they will support what others decide to do if it is not immoral, unethical or illegal. In other words to be in symphony sometimes your piece of music has to be a little quieter than some of the others for the full piece to be what it ought to be.
I wrote a song. I needed someone to put the notes of the song together so that it could be sung by a large group and played by a pianist. I don’t know how to do that so I called my friend Phillip Magness who is a Cantor. Here is his bio –
Phillip Magness received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Piano Performance from the University of North Texas. He has since pursued studies in ministry and church music at Concordia University-Chicago. For several years he divided his time between freelance piano work, college teaching, and part-time work as a church musician. In 1993 he was appointed to his first full-time cantorate at Trinity Lutheran in Peoria. From 2000-2013 he served in the Chicago area, first at Bethany Lutheran Church and School in Naperville, IL, then at Trinity Lutheran Church and School in Tinley Park, IL. Both parishes gave him the honorific title “Cantor,” in the tradition of the Lutheran church. He now directs the music program and prepares the liturgies for worship at Immnauel Lutheran Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
Phillip’s work outside the parish includes composing for Liturgy Solutions and serving as Secretary of the Board for International Mission for the LCMS. He also serves as Cantor for Doxology retreats and is has taught seminars on the French edition of the LSB (Liturgies et Cantiques Luthériens) in Canada and Africa. He was active with the Lutheran Hymnal Project, which assembled the Lutheran Service Book (LSB), and was chairman of the LSB Introduction Committee. LSB contains several of his compositions, including the tune UNION CITY (“If Christ Had Not Been Raised From Death” – LSB 486)) and the OT canticle in the new Service of Prayer and Preaching (“The Lord God is My Strength and My Song”). Phillip is also the composer of the song cycle setting Luther’s Small Catechism to music published by CPH, “Sing the Faith.”
So you can imagine I was a bit nervous to bring my composition to him. I tend to write music that is on the country/rock side but Phillip took my song and in a few days gave me everything that I needed. It is really neat to see a song that is I your head and corded on a guitar actually existing on a sheet of paper. Anyway Phillip is a real professional and a partner in the Gospel and I appreciate our “symphony” in Christ. Check out his work at www.liturgysolutions.com