One of the first secular songs I remember hearing as a kid was the 70’s Coca Cola theme song, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” because it drew such a harmonious picture of the world. I’ve always loved harmony – both literal and figurative. Harmony is satisfying to my people-pleasing personality — apple trees and honey bees… snow white turtle doves… peace and love. In my naive little mind, I thought maybe a Christian wrote it. Sounds like a nice church idea, don’t you think?!
After seeing a few church folks duke it out about who is “righter” about their theology, or which musical style is more pleasing to the Father, or what grade the pastor earned this week on his delivery of the message, I’ve decided that I would still like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.
Problem is… I can’t teach what I don’t know. I’m not so perfect at this myself. I now disagree with many of the ideals I once thought I would defend until the bloody end of time. If I had to read some of the things I wrote about 15 or 20 years ago, I’d probably pick an argument with my own self! Even this week someone tried to get in my face about a certain theological point and I got madder than a wet cat.
I turned forty a couple weeks ago and if I’ve learned anything at all in that time, it is that we can’t fix each other. Arguing about our differences really isn’t worth what we lose in the process and I have never once seen a knock-down-drag-out argument effectively sway someone’s theology. (Or at least it has never changed mine… I’m stubborn like that.) But keeping an open, honest dialogue with people who genuinely are seeking the Truth about God is both healthy and productive. It means being open to the fact that we could be wrong, or we could be right. It could be a journey that uncovers just how much we don’t know.
I don’t believe God expects us to have all knowledge. That’s reserved for Him. He asks us to pursue knowledge and seek wisdom… but above all else, he commands us to love Him with all our hearts and love one another as we love ourselves.
I’m really holding out hope that He will help His people learn how to do that well. What a world it would be if we could live in peace with one another and focus more on the beauty of our differences… and not focus quite so squarely on having all the right answers. I don’t think there will be a pop quiz when we arrive in His Presence. But there WILL be people with whom we lived, and worked, and argued. Then, all will be clear. We’ll all sing in perfect harmony. So why not live life as a dress rehearsal starting now?