The music streaming app on my phone has started offering me music for running. As well as playlists of music chosen to aid and enhance each different moment of my life, it now offers half an hour of uplifting sounds in the genre of my choice to help me keep going on my morning run. I enter my pace and it sets the BPM and off we go..
The experimental composer Max Richter has recently released an eight-hour opus: sleep. This mammoth album – can you call a collection of eight hours worth of music an album? – is intended to be played during the night, being specially designed to aid the listeners rest.
Both the music for running and the music for sleeping are actually better than I expected. Richter’s album is particularly good. But this has got me wondering: should music, or should any art, have a purpose, or should it just exist in its own right? That is probably one to leave the artists and philosophers to argue over.
What about faith and religion, do they have purpose? What about your faith? Have you just cherry-picked a selection of spiritual ideas because they appeal to you and fit your background, culture, upbringing, or is there something more at work?
The writer to the Ephesians tells his readers that there are far deeper purposes at work behind their faith than they may at first realise.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Eph 2:10.
The author is talking about their salvation. The story of Jesus at work in their lives, in our lives, is God’s, His great epic, His masterpiece, a work of art with a purpose. But what purpose is that? Their are strong hints of it earlier in Ephesians.
“At the time He will will bring everything together under the authority of Christ.” Eph 1:10. This is the reason – that everything may be brought together, all the fragmented, splintered aspects of creation united, made whole.
I find that incredibly exciting. Our lives are not meaningless and random. Our faith isn’t the result of chance, upbringing, or whim… It’s the meticulously crafted masterpiece of God. The ongoing story of your journey with Jesus is part of a great epic with the intended purpose that all things will be brought together, united and renewed.
Try to think on this for a moment or two. You are caught up in a great story, you are a piece that fits, you have a part to play. Let this knowledge inform the way you face whatever conversations, opportunities and challenges that you might face today.