I’m listening to music this morning as I mark tests and it’s interesting to me to note the bass line in these songs.

Before my son started playing bass guitar, I’m sure I never even heard the bass line in songs. I was strictly a melody girl. The tune was all I was interested in and all I was capable of singing!

But a couple of weeks ago I went to Reading to a concert by the King’s Singers (The King’s Singers). These are six singers whose harmonies and ability to sing unaccompanied are amazing. It was enchanting to me to listen to them, understanding that the whole was made up of individual lines of music which in themselves were relatively straightforward (and even a little boring at times!) but the effect of putting those lines together was a rich tone that was capable of filling a concert hall with no artificial amplification whatsoever.

It occurs to me that life is a little bit like that. We all want the melodies, the tunes, the exciting moments which are eminently singable! But as I listen to music, the bass guitar when it enters enhances the song, giving it structure and safety, underlining the melody and giving shape to the music. Then the harmonies come in, adding richness and variety to the melody. It’s so much more satisfying to have these than ‘just’ the melody. Polyphony in music (having two or more independent melodic voices) is so much richer than monophony (just the one voice).

In life, we may be the equivalent of the bass guitar: not there all the time, adding only the occasional note, apparently quite insignificant, but actually very noticeable when absent. Or we may be the equivalent of the alto voice, not having all the exciting melodies but adding richness to the overall song. We may be the BGVs as they are known in the music industry (background vocals), often hardly heard, but fundamentally vital. The key thing for us to remember is that we are not solo artists in this journey of life, but part of the body of Christ: all necessary, all vital, all placed exactly where God wants us.

“You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptised.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, “I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,” would that make it so? If Ear said, “I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,” would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.” (1 Cor 12:12-18, The Message)