From Be Thou My Breastplate, by Paul Wallis
Let the hearing of the Holy Spirit be in these ears. (Fursa’s Breastplate)
The lyre has been used since the most ancient times in the praise of God. A lyre can produce a single note or a chord. It can also sound any number of chords.
The resonance of the instrument is such that, if one lyre is fingered to sound an E major chord and strummed, every other lyre near it will respond. Every string that matches a note in that first lyre’s chord will begin to resound – untouched by human hand. Thus something of that first chord passes on invisibly from instrument to instrument.
If a player fingers a second lyre for an E major chord, he need not strum the chord at all. The sound of the chord itself emanating from that first lyre will repeat itself entirely in the second instrument as the invisible beating of the airwaves causes them to resonate without even touching.
This is how it is in the communion of saints. The divine musician has set me up for the worship of God in a certain way. My nature and calling are to do certain works; to render a particular kind of service. He prepared me for this chord while I was in my mother’s womb, though I may not yet know what that nature and calling is – what the sound of my chord will be.
However, when my physical ears hear the testimony and deeds of another in the great cloud of witnesses who ran the same kind of race for which God has designed me, my strings will begin to ring. When my physical ears hear the words of those whose testimony calls me to take that same course, something in me will resonate. Every string in me that matches a note in my forebear’s calling will ring and reverberate with what feels like a physical buzz. So it is that even though time and space may divide me from my spiritual ancestor, without our ever meeting or touching, their music can be passed on.
That is why it is in hearing the music of others’ lives that I will come to learn how I am strung. It is in listening to others that I will hear the call of God.
As I seek God for that sense of calling and purpose, I must listen and take note of who and what makes me buzz with godly fervor. That is why I must learn, as Fursa did, to give to God the attention of my ears and pray, “Let the hearing of the Holy Spirit be in these ears.”