A Meditation on Community

20 September 2023
Sr. Cheryl Rose

A Meditation on Community 

Today in my morning prayer time, I was listening on YouTube to Ennio Morricone conduct his orchestra and choir performing his brilliant soundtrack for “The Mission.” Many remember this prize-winning soundtrack for it’s beautiful piece “Gabriel’s Oboe.”  Each time I watch this YouTube video, I think how honored and thrilled I would be to be part of Morricone’s orchestra! The thrill and privilege to lend my voice or play my instrument the best I could to add beauty and majesty to the performance.  And today I thought: isn’t this a picture of community? Isn’t this an example of what cannot be done alone but what can reach great heights by the collaboration of many, different, cooperating individuals? 

So many lessons here! So many strong messages!  The power and fullness of the combined sound is breathtaking!  The blend of human voices with the exquisite “voices” of oboe, cello, French horn, piccolo, violin, drums—was goose-bump thrilling and uplifting.  I watched the delicate fingers and raised veins on the neck of the master oboe player, knowing she was giving her all to her contribution to the masterpiece! The overall beauty of this performance is the meshing and intermingling of the best all-out playing of EACH instrument.  The strings bring something the French horns can’t, and the oboe, regal as it is, cannot bring what the piccolos do.  Not only that, but each violin played by each unique musician makes a different sound.  No two cellos vibrate identically. And then there’s the symphony of human voices—each differing in tone and timbre, adding a celestial sound to the gifted presentation of the entire orchestra. 

The power of community lies in the composite of unique members giving their ALL to the common intention of offering one great work of art. Everyone’s wholehearted expression of their piece adds depth and power and splendor. The power lies in the diversity of each member not expected to BE the same, or even play the same notes at the same time.  The power of the orchestra lies in the belief that each musician is bringing their best and donating all they have to this great work.  And somehow one exquisite, multi-dimensional expression emerges, takes wing, and soars—touching deeply the hearts of those who listen. 

Perhaps each musician is fed in this joint effort, feeling the JOY of complete offering of self in this way—the boundless bliss of using their God-given gifts and skills in creating exquisite music.  To use the gifts we’ve been given, fully and unreservedly, expands the heart with joy, with bliss.  Frederick Buechner says when we do what brings us great joy, we will meet the world’s great hunger.  Imagine the power of a whole group doing that which brings EACH great joy! The transformative power of an orchestra, a community, is diversity in communion.  A spine-tingling orchestra is individual genius in careful collaboration. 

Perhaps YOU are part of a great community, meeting the world’s great hunger—like Morricone’s orchestra.  Perhaps you’re in a smaller community—like a small band or ensemble…or a trio.  Or maybe you can find one other kindred soul with whom you can bless the world by joining your true voices, a community of two, to create a healing uplifting soul song!  Together we CAN touch the world’s great hunger.