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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Dalziel

Singing a duet (24-07-2023)

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit


“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.


“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.


“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.


Thought

I don’t know about you but I do enjoy listening to a lovely vocal duet. For each of us the definition of what makes a good vocal duet may be quite different. For some it will be two classically trained voices performing a piece of opera, while for others it may be their favourite pop stars teaming up together, or indeed it might be two rappers joining forces. Whatever your choice of duet there is something very special about two voices blending together, each voice performing their own part while all the time listening to the other in order to produce the desired sound.


The other Friday morning, while on my way to do some shopping, I was listening to the radio, as I usually do, and as I drove towards Northampton a very popular classical duet came on. As I listened I was aware of just how different the two voices were to each other. The two singers were both men but their voices contrasted with each other in tone, sound and pitch. It was the contrast that made the duet interesting; if their voices had been the same as each other then the harmonies would not have sounded so good. The duet was being sung in French, and although I studied French at school it was a long time ago and I don’t remember much of it, so I didn’t understand what they were singing about, but that didn’t matter, it was the sound of their voices that was lovely and moved me as I listened to them.


As Christians we might consider that we are permanently performing a duet with God, for we are told in John’s gospel that we have the Holy Spirit residing within us as our helper. We have both our own voice and the voice of God within us. These two voices may sound very different to each other, but in order for us to live in harmony with the Spirit we need to listen carefully to what the Spirit is saying, to follow its guidance and ask for help when we need it. If we try and go it alone, and sing a solo rather than a duet it will only be our voice that is heard.


When other people hear us, they may not understand what it is we are saying, but if they can hear the joy in our hearts that comes from belonging to Jesus then they will be drawn to the lovely sound just as I am drawn to the sound of lovely singing.


Why would we ever want to sing a solo, when we can sing a duet with God?


Prayer (Edwin Hatch 1835-89)

Breathe on me, breath of God, fill me with life anew;

That I may love what Thou dost love and do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God, until my heart is pure;

Until my will is one with Thine to do and to endure.

Amen





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