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Marching to the Kingdom

Kate RaybonPlease welcome guest blogger, Kate Raybon. Recently, during First Baptist Church of Asheville's annual youth Sunday, she spoke of her experience in marching band and how that compared to being a part of the body of Christ. The text of her message follows.

I am a marching band nerd. I think marching band has become a little less un-cool in recent years, and that may be due to awesome shows with dancing and the occasional fire-baton twirling, but I’m pretty sure it’s just because I’m actually in it. I go to A.C. Reynolds and have been in the marching band program for the past four years. I play percussion, and this year I was a captain of the drumline. A tremendous task that no amount of “follow the leader” could have prepared me for. As a percussionist, your perceived cool level is typically higher than your average band member’s. My dad (a trumpet player) disagrees. But I know that regardless of what instrument you play, marching band is not easy.

In fact, if you think about it, it seems nearly impossible. Making music and putting on a great show is hard enough, now add 100 people carrying bulky instruments while moving in unison to create intricate formations on a football field. Being in a marching band is a lot like being a part of the body of Christ. You’ve got a lot of people with different ideas about what the tempo is, and what it means to be Christian and you’re still trying to figure out the notes of your own music, and how to use your own God given gifts to serve others, and all the while you have your band director telling you that your spot is actually 5 yards to the left and you haven’t even found a church you feel like you want to belong to.

However, after a lot of practice, you get the hang of stepping off on your left foot and not running into the person in front of you. Colossians chapter 3 tells us that we are all called to be a part of the body and that we need to let the peace of Christ keep us in step with one another. If we’re going to make the church work, we have to stick together and let God be the biggest part of our lives.

Being a leader in marching band, or a leader of anything really, requires an extreme amount of patience. You desperately try to motivate people to do something and if they don’t, the leader usually gets more than their fair share of the blame. In marching band you have the seniors who are just trying to live up to everyone’s expectations, the juniors, who have a naive sense of excitement about being a leader next year, the sophomores, who think that they have already learned it all, and the freshmen, who are terrified of everything. This past year I particularly struggled to be patient with one of the freshman bass drummers. No matter how many times I explained the rhythm or repeated the number of steps needed to get to a spot, she would never fully get it. Sometimes I wanted to quit and let someone else be in charge, but I kept working with her and sometimes stayed after school two extra days a week to try and help her out. Eventually, her marching and playing improved!  

Paul writes in Colossians that as God’s chosen people, it’s important to “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” I think that being a leader in marching band has really helped me see that. It’s not about who is right about the number of measures a certain move lasts, but more about having patience and grace with others.

A couple of weeks ago Guy [FBCA pastor] came to [youth group fellowship called] Koinonia and talked about why he believes in God. I know we all have doubts at one point or another, but in high school, with learning and interactions with friends and so many other things going on, I know I’ve questioned things more than once. Guy said that for him, the fact that music exists is primary evidence. After all, what, other than knowing the joy of God’s love can cause someone to pick up a twisted piece of metal and make noise with it?

Today’s verse also says “above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” I think music is a form of love. Whether you’re playing or singing for someone else, you are inviting that person to see into your heart and share the joy that the music brings to your soul. If that isn’t love, you’re out of tune. Everyday band allows me to make music with some of my closest friends and then share that music with others when it’s time for a concert. I'm so thankful that I’ve grown up in a church and a school, and even a city that has a passion for music. I’m constantly surrounded by people who know the power of music and want to share it with others. Colossians chapter 3 finally says that “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” I know that at this church, and with these people, that task will never be too hard to accomplish with joy.

Kate Raybon

Kate is a 17 year old high school senior planning to attend university in the fall. Kate has many talents. In addition to (wait for it) marching to the beat of her on drum (buh dump dump), she also acts (she was in the movie Hunger Games), sings in the church choir, and can say the word "chicken" in multiple languages.


About the Author Kate Raybon

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Anonymous says April 30, 2014

great testimony about the band!

    Aileen Lawrimore says April 30, 2014

    Isn't it though! Marching band helps kids in so many ways!

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