Harmony in the Woods

I went for a hike the other evening after I left my office. A bit cold, to be sure, but the beauty of my trek was well worth the effort. A bright sun setting on the hilltops. A semi-fresh layer of snow covering the ground and still sticking to the trees.

And the deer! Did I mention that I saw about 15 whitetail deer? They captured my attention for two reasons. They are beautiful creatures and especially enjoyable to watch. I’m also a hunter so I confess that my motives weren’t entirely pure.

Most of the deer seemed to be comfortable with my presence. Probably well aware that hunting season had long since passed, and that we were in a protected area, they continued to quietly graze as long as I kept my distance. But if I got too close they cautiously moved away. I’m not sure if they saw visions of venison steaks clouding my thoughts, or if it was just that natural fear that most animals have of humans—and often of each other.

When you stop and think about it, nature is terribly violent. Big fish eat small fish. Carnivorous animals prey upon those with less aggressive tendencies. It’s all quite natural, but still very bloody and unpleasant.

But God didn’t create the world this way! And He certainly has a different plan for the future. Our violent world constitutes merely a thin slice of time sandwiched in between two enduring stretches of peace-filled eternity.

When I think of God’s original design, the word harmony fills my mind.

Webster would put it this way: a: pleasing or congruent arrangement of parts. (It’s difficult to totally avoid the musical dynamics of the concept.)

God created our world in harmony, and to harmony it will one day return. This speaks volumes of His nature and His intent. The Fall (or Crash as I tend to call it) has brought about a relatively brief, but horribly disjointed chapter to the story.

In many ways, becoming a Christian is about returning to a state of harmony with our Creator. Rather than separation, rather than displeasure, rather than offense, we now have a pleasant or congruent relationship with the God of the universe. How appealing!

Somehow, however, I can’t escape a most pressing question: If Christians are in harmony with God, then why aren’t we in harmony with one another? Shouldn’t the landscape of Christianity look more like a cultivated garden than a war zone? Do we sound like a unified, harmonious orchestra under one leader, or the repulsive clamor of division and conflict?

What do you think? Is the church today a pleasant or congruent arrangement of parts?

I think it’s a topic most worthy of a blog series!

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harmony – accessed on 3/8/11