And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:18 ESV)
Since I was able to crawl I made my way through the cables, cabinets and equipment of radio and television stations. I probably knew more about electricity before I started Kindergarten than most people ever learned in their life. Granted, this was not a particularly useful skill in elementary school but it kept me from biting the electrical cord and those shocking results.
Needless to say some of my children acquired an interest in electronics and especially audio. Joel was the first to discover the wonder of mixing audio in the church for a good sound. Working with Dad, aka me, he discovered what he could and could not do with the available equipment.
It didn’t take him long to notice the sheepish singers and boost their microphone a little more than the accompaniment. Getting the right mixture so instrument and voice could be heard was always a challenge.
On the other end of the spectrum was the confident, loud singer. They always wanted the monitors and speakers blaring as loud as possible to help insure permanent hearing loss for themselves and the audience. Floor monitors directed at the singer are wonderful devices. Lowering the volume to the congregation while boosting the floor monitor would give the singer a sense that they were blasting away at their captive audience while the audience was spared hearing damage and could enjoy the music without pain.
Working with a group was even more fun. Joel learned quickly to turn down, and sometimes off, the microphone of that one individual who was swaying back and forth in spiritual sync while singing in another world and another key. Their voice would fade in and out as their mouth passed across the microphone in time with the music.
For years we worked together. Joel was always behind the mixing board. I was sometimes helping him. Sometimes I was providing the music and became the victim of his mixing decisions. Either way it was an exercise in making peace between the musician, the preacher, the choir and those listening in the congregation.
There was also a time of peace when we worked together on special audio projects. More than once we worked the sound board together for church or special programs at the boy’s school in Austria. For several years Joel helped our church in Vienna mix the sound in our small and noisy meeting hall.
When Joel went off the college James stepped in and picked up the ministry. It was fun watching him keep the peace between the musicians and the congregation. One time he turned off his Mom’s microphone. When she asked why he said, “Trust me. It was better off not letting people hear what you were singing.”
OK, so maybe there wasn’t always peace at home. I have the sneaking suspicion he often turned my microphone off but just didn’t say anything. There was that one Sunday when I had a stuffy nose, and sounded like a walrus with his head buried in the sand.
It’s times like these, working with my children that I remember and cherish. God allowed us to work together, to be at peace with one another, usually. As Father and son we carefully sculptured audio to help others worship and praise God through song.
What events remind you of God’s peace working in your life? Mine are with family and friends. God’s calm hand helps us work together.