Dissonant Harmony

“Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.” -1 Peter 3:8

In high school, I took choir all four years. In choir, you learn the difference between dissonance and harmony. Harmony is the combination of two simultaneously played music notes that sound pleasing to the ear. They complement one another. They exist seamlessly together. Does this sound like your family? Your church? Your friend group? Mine neither most of the time.

Dissonance is a tension or clash resulting from two disharmonious notes being played at the same time. This to me is how the world feels most often. With wars and racial segregation and hateful words being spread on the Internet. At times, it can seem like the world is full of so much dissonance.

However, something you also learn in choir is that dissonance can actually be a part of harmony. Or, it can lead to harmony. One of the most satisfying musical devices is when a composer holds a dissonant chord for a long time before resolving one of the dissident notes into a harmonic a note to finish the song. The key here, is that you have to hold the dissonance in order for the harmony to really land. You have to be willing to sit in the tension in order for the resolution to really mean something.

God calls us to live in harmony with one another, but this doesn't mean we live free of dissonance. Part of living compassionately sometimes means pressing against someone else in the hopes of making them better. Humility doesn't mean making a little of yourself, it means making much of God even if it makes others uncomfortable for a moment. 

The difference between the distance of the world and the dissonance of God's kingdom is where the tension is leading. The tension in the world builds up to an explosion. To riots, and battles, and hurt feelings, and broken relationships. But tension within the kingdom of God, between believers who are set on building that kingdom, that tension will always lead to a resolution of harmony.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you that you are always working toward a resolution. I think you for the dissonant moments in life and how they make the harmony that much sweeter. I pray that you would help me to press into the tension today, with the hope and expectation that you are already working to bring out harmony.

Erin Jorgenson