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Refusing to Leave Our Ethnic Section Rehearsals

August 23, 2011

Edgardo Colon-Emeric

Many people “want to join the hallelujah chorus in paradise but refuse to leave their ethnic section rehearsals on earth,” preached Edgardo Colon-Emeric at our June summer institute.  The text was Ephesians 1:15-23, the audience 120-plus from 24 states and 18 countries, and the metaphor of symphony and section rehearsals one of the most compelling I’ve heard in why holy diversity matters.  Edgardo is assistant professor of theology and Hispanic studies here at Duke Divinity.  Read his full homily or download and listen to it at ITunes University.  Excerpts:

“… The real proof that I had learned my part was when I left the safety of my section and sat next to sopranos, altos and tenors. I was better in tune with the key of the piece when I learned to listen to the other parts.  For most of us, section rehearsals are all we have ever known.  In the United States, one part has been dominant for so long that the other parts have only been preserved through section rehearsals. Many of us would not be here today except for section rehearsals.”

“It is not easy to sing in symphony when one section blasts its part out of an overblown sense of self-importance. And yet it is hard to be in tune with Christ when so many of us have tuned out our neighbors. It is easy to give up on the Ephesian calling. For many, the hope of our calling takes second seat to personal choice and cultural affirmation. How can we possibly commit to praying and living together week in and week out when we are so different?”

“… Do not be afraid to be holy. Do not be afraid to leave the safety of the section rehearsal. Do not be afraid to submit to the baton of Christ. It is not Edgardo who calls you; it is not Paul. It is Almighty God who calls you to join the celestial symphony with all the saints. Do not put it off until heaven. Claim the promise. Anticipate your heaven below. Dare to hope in Christ.”

About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School. He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. He writes regularly at the blog Reconcilers.

Related Reconcilers posts: 

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 23, 2011 10:11 am

    Wow, that’s great! I learn really well from metaphor, and as a music major this really hits home for me! Thank you!

  2. August 24, 2011 4:51 pm

    I too am grateful for this metaphor. As one called to help people take those first steps out of their sectionals and into the mixed formation, I am resonating deeply with this word! Thanks for sharing!

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