I’m not going to try to explain the science behind this video (mostly because I can’t). But . . . it’s pretty cool. If you don’t want to watch the whole four minutes, watch the first thirty seconds and then skip ahead at 30 second intervals (i.e., 1:00, 1:30, 2:00, etc.) and watch for a few seconds at each. You’ll get the idea.
The explanation on YouTube is “If you place 32 metronomes on a static object and set them rocking out of phase with one another, they will remain that way indefinitely. Place them on a moveable surface, however, and something very interesting (and very mesmerizing) happens.”
I looked up the word discordant to make sure I got it right. It means “being at variance; disagreeing; disagreeable to the ear; dissonant; harsh,” according to dictionary.com.
When I was a music major in college, we often used a metronome to help us develop an ability to keep pace or to play a piece at the right tempo. That tool was useful because it was stubborn, not changing its rhythm in light of other influences. That has great advantages when you want a group of musicians who need to play as one.
Jesus prayed for unity among believers during his final prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane before he was led away to die for us (John 17). This metronome video illustrates a great point about his prayer, though. Jesus prays for unity, not inflexibility. He wants us to be one, and for people to be united we have to be willing to be less stubborn.
In church we need to be like metronomes on a surface that gives ever so slightly. A metronome on a solid surface is not affected by other metronomes. You could put thirty devices on the same table and they would continue doing their own thing. But with a table that wobbles a little, each metronome is forced to give way ever so slightly to the rhythm of the others – every one feeling the combined approach of the others and adjusting accordingly.
And, it takes time. Being as one means experiencing the perspectives and dreams of everyone in your Christian community. That only happens by taking the time to know them.
This isn’t a wishy washy church. I’m not suggesting you take seriously the idea that Jesus isn’t both God and man or to consider that there may not actually be a hell. I’m talking about those things that so easily entangle us like arguments about how much money we should spend on carpet, debates about the best way to do evangelism or butting heads about making sure we do communion on the first Sunday of every month.
Those issues are important, but we need to listen to the viewpoints of our fellow Christians and, like a group of formerly discordant metronomes, get into a godly rhythm with one another.
Give just a little and watch how it unifies your church.