Read Romans 15
Focus on verse 5-6
One of the things I appreciate most about vocal music is good harmony, and what makes harmony sound particularly good is when it is contrasted with dissonance. There is something especially gratifying to my ears when intentionally dissonant chords resolve back into harmonious beauty.
In today’s reading Paul encourages followers of Jesus to “live in harmony” so that together they might glorify God.
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. (v.5-6)
In well written music, harmony is appreciated more fully when it is contrasted to dissonance. I have experienced a similar principle in life as I have interacted with people. I have encountered people who tend to create relational dissonance as they interact with the people around them. If they are not able to bring that dissonance into harmonious accord, the relationship eventually will fail altogether. When the dissonance resolves, the relational harmony is often particularly sweet.
Interestingly relationships that never experience any dissonance will sometimes also fail because the harmony becomes mundane. It is not that it is not good harmony, it is just that without some dissonance to remind us that we like harmony better, we begin to take the harmony for granted.
Within the church harmony is particularly critical, since it is one of the key ways in which those who follow Jesus can actually glorify God. If we consider the verses preceding the instruction to live in harmony, we discover that one of the keys to living in harmony with others is that those who are “strong” or more mature in faith, set aside their own preferences for the sake of those who are weaker. (v. 1-2)
When I begin to apply this as a measurement of maturity to my experience in the some of the churches I have been involved with, it becomes surprising to me who the truly mature followers of Jesus sometimes seem to be. It also causes me to evaluate more closely how I respond to brothers and sisters within the church who have strong opinions about how they like things to be done.