Perspective: Sweet harmony
I love music—all kinds of music. I must admit, however, that gospel music is my favorite. I grew up going to “Singing Conventions” on Sunday afternoons. My family loved to sing. Sunday evenings after church, you just might find a group from the church around a piano singing while my mom made that piano surrender incredible sounds.
While solo music is enjoyable, there is nothing like four-part harmony. The intertwining of voices and perfectly tight harmonies make beautiful music. I have listened to many quartets and groups across the years and have made an observation. Good singers can harmonize in such a way as to move you emotionally, but no harmony is so pleasing to the ears as family harmony. When a family is gifted to sing, God creates a resonance and harmony that is unsurpassed. That is sweet music.
The same is true in the body of Christ. When spiritual family members intertwine their lives in serving the Lord together, sweet music happens. I am thankful that Oklahoma Baptists increasingly have moved from monotone to harmony. We are no longer just Anglo but red, yellow, black, and white. And the harmony sung by members of Christ’s family is incredible to behold.
Over the last month, I have had the privilege of being in churches that are distinctly multi-racial and multi-ethnic. The color hues in the congregation are variegated. While black and white are predominate, it is clear that the color spectrum is broad. This is how it should be. I applaud every effort to move from monotone to four-part harmony in the body of Christ as expressed in the local church.
But the same must be true in the larger body called the Convention. Gone is the day when we looked for token ethnics to place in leadership positions. Today, our boards are increasingly multi-ethnic. The board of directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma took that step many years ago. We now have blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians serving on the board. In fact, an Asian serves on the Executive Committee of the convention’s board of directors. We have had a president and multiple vice presidents who were from diverse ethnic backgrounds. We have been too slow in our progress, but praise the Lord, we are becoming color blind in our leadership.
I often point to the first Baptist church on Oklahoma soil. It was multi-ethnic, consisting of two Anglos, one Creek Indian, and three black slaves. Our heritage demands from us a diverse and intertwined harmony of multiple voices.
Be assured this does not happen easily in a world of broken and sinful people. Our prejudices die hard. By the way, I am speaking of prejudices that go in both directions. Laying down our sinful prejudices in order to accept as a brother and sister those whom God has already accepted requires much prayer and humility. But it is both a demand and privilege, and it is worth the effort.
Our churches should be exemplary in our acceptance of people of all races and backgrounds. Sweet harmony ought to prevail. Remember, the most beautiful music and harmony comes from family members blending their voices together. Thank God, our family is large, multi-colored, and infinitely diverse. When we get together, the Oklahoma Baptist family makes sweet music in multiple-part harmony. Praise the Lord!