I was in choir in high school. I loved it, but I was never quite sure where I fit. I wasn’t the strongest singer in the world, so I fell somewhere between baritone and second tenor. If you have never been in choir, you probably don’t have a clue what those terms mean.
In a basic, mixed-gender choir, there are four major voice parts – the women who sing higher are called sopranos, while the women who sing lower are Altos. The higher men are tenors and the lower men are called Basses. But all those parts can be split – lower basses, higher baritones. Lower second tenors and higher second tenors. Same for women’s parts (and the gender categories aren’t that firm. I know a few men who can sing alto parts and a few female tenors as well.
All that matters because choral music is designed to be sung in parts. The goal of good choral music is perfect harmony, where all the different parts are blending and mixing to create something much more beautiful than a single voice singing, or even all those voices in the choir singing in unison.
What we do in here when we sign together is mostly sing in unison. Our platform singers will do harmony together, but we all sing the melody.
Melody works great for worship, and for most of our pop songs. But there’s something really beautiful and powerful about killer harmonies. They elevate the song. They illustrate that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
It would be essentially unthinkable for one part of a chorus to sing their part alone. It sounds weird. Because the song wasn’t designed to be heard that way. You join a choir knowing that you need all the parts to sound good.
I want to suggest today that our relationships are harmonies, not unison. We were created to live in harmony, not unison with each other. Which means accepting that you and I are different, and we’re going to continue to be different.
The goal of faith, the goal of life, the goal of relationships, isn’t uniformity, but a beautiful harmony of voices. That can only happen when we accept each other as we are, and commit to harmony.