Holy Ghost Tones


Today’s message at First Baptist focused on Luke 5:1-11.  A beautiful message of encouragement to the church about being the net.  Each of us and our gifts are woven into the net that is cast out for others.  As if the Spirit intertwines us all together to create a unified safety net for Jesus’ use in reaching out to others.  Maybe that is fanciful…?

Anyway, the passage starts with Jesus on the shore of Lake Gennesaret with people starting to surround him and ask him for the word of God.  Eventually he gets in a boat and asks to be pushed a little bit out from shore.  Today we learned that he did that because the hills around the inlet where he was created an amphitheater.  So, he must have sought out the spot where his voice would be projected to the hundreds of people that were already there that morning.  I would say that amphitheater is a natural phenomenon created by God, the Creator of all.  Conditions have to be “just so” to create an amphitheater in the outdoors, and God wanted the Good News to be heard.

Natural phenomena are amazing.  But so are some man-made phenomena.

I don’t know if you have ever taken the free lunch tour of the Winspear – if you haven’t you should.  If they are still telling the story of the building of the Winspear as they used to, you would hear all the planning that went into the building.  It is fascinating, for instance, that the Winspear is actually three distinct buildings.  As well, it is fascinating to hear about how they chose the fabric on the seats, the texture of the walls, and other details to achieve the effect of a hall full of people even when it is empty, so that when they rehearse, it sounds the same as when they perform.  (There are plenty more interesting facts to learn, so go take the tour!)

Now, there was only one other hall in North America at the time (if I remember correctly) that had a similar design to the Winspear.  But the Winspear for the most part was a state-of-the-art endeavour.  And the interesting thing is that they could not and would not know the results of their planning and efforts until it was all built.  In other words, it doesn’t always turn out great. Varying results were possible.  However, if you have been to a concert at the Winspear, you know that it turned out phenomenally well.  Honestly, it is the best acoustic experience of symphony that I have ever known.  Carnegie may have history, but the Winspear has the acoustics!  At least in my view.

But the notion that they had to plan and build the entire building(s) (even such a high-profile and expensive building) before they could know if it “worked” because it is state-of-the-art and there are no exact prototypes is very interesting, isn’t it?

That came to mind today.  It seemed like everything came together in just such a way today at First Baptist.  I thoroughly enjoy the services there, but it seemed like today’s transcended the norm.  The prayers, the hymns, the children’s send-off, the musicians, the hymns, and the choir and their version of Fairest Lord Jesus created such a beautiful sanctuary in which my heart – my inner eye – could crack open and tune in to what  God would say to me through his Word today.

Back to Luke.  You’ll have to read the story for yourself, but the upshot is that though the fishermen had not been able to catch any fish all night, when Jesus had them lower the nets, they were filled to overflowing with fish, to the point where Simon, John and James fell to their knees in fear.  And Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”  It is a strong call and they follow Jesus.

“Don’t be afraid…”  I needed to hear that today.

The choir and congregation sang the last hymn together – wish I could remember which hymn it was – and the soprano voices created an ethereal tone above the rest that made it seem as if angels were singing with us.  I know that sounds ridiculous, but that is what it seemed like!

And that reminded me of another musical phenomenon often referred to as “ghost tones”.  A ghost tone is heard when two instruments, such as flutes, play two particular notes at the same time, and a third note is created seemingly out of nowhere.  Two notes are played, but three are heard.

Today, we heard Holy Ghost tones at First Baptist – what a great beginning to the week.