God in the Key of C

Imagine that we are all sitting at the keyboard of a piano, and we press down on the key right in the middle—middle C. What do we hear?

One full note fills our ears and our senses.  It is pure.

Now, with our other hand, we press down gently on the key exactly one octave above.  We’ve pressed the key so gently, the hammer doesn’t strike the strings in the piano; rather, those strings are undampered, or, as the musicians say, “open.”

Okay, we have the “C” one note above “Middle C” open and undampered.  Now, we press down on the piano key for Middle C, and hear once more that beautiful tone.

Now, we let go of Middle C.  We might expect that all sound stops, but we can still hear a musical tone.  The vibrations of the strings of Middle C have caused the strings to vibrate on the C note one octave above, so much so that we can hear it softly in our ears.  The undampered, open note has been made to resonate by the lower note.  The vibrations of Middle C have given life to the strings one octave away.

So, here might be another way to imagine God–not another way to “see God,” but to “hear God.”  God is that powerful musical tone, at the center of the universe, vibrating so steadily, such that all that is open, undampered, and in tune, will begin to vibrate also.

Imagine that you are those open strings one octave above Middle C.  You begin to resonate, not because something, or someone, has struck you, or plucked you as a harpist does, but because you are open and in tune with God.

We are able to resonate with God, because we are made to be in tune with God, a gift imparted by being created in the image of God.

Just as one note in the piano sounding will cause another to resonate, the musician and theologian Jeremy Begbie writes that God interacts “with the world intimately, without violating it or merging with it, liberating it to be more fully itself.”

Our God truly is a liberating God, not a controlling God.  In our resonance with God, we move from dissonance to tunefulness, which is freedom to live fully into God’s image of us, not the world’s version of us.

Begbie writes, “God’s involvement with our lives neither pushes us out, nor swallows us up, nor leads to some kind of fusion.  God does something much more creative: through intimate interaction with us, God frees us to ‘sound’ as we were created to sound, enabling us to be more fully ourselves.  We are not de-humanized, but re-humanized.”

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