There was once a choir of about a hundred singers that were given a beautiful Song to sing. The singers examined the Song and tested it privately and each was edified thereby and eventually joined together in union to sing. Each singer added his particular quality and talent, but they all sang the same words and the same melody and when joined together were amazed at the beauty and majesty which every listener heard.
All seemed happy with this for a period of time and most loved the Song to the extent that they memorized the words and often sang it in their private moments.
Then one of the singers in contemplation felt he could improve the Song by altering or eliminating some of the words. He then sang it with the altered words to himself and also found the cadence and melody was somewhat changed to fit the new arrangement of words.
He sang the new version several times to himself and decided this was an improved version that he would now sing whenever the Song was sung. He was excited about presenting this to the choir.
On the next gathering he presented the new version to the singers. Several said they liked it and a couple others said they had the same idea but had altered the words in a different way that pleased them individually. But then the great majority expressed their opinion that the Song was best in its original form and they desired to continue singing it that way
Then one of the choir members spoke:
“This Song was written by a Master Songwriter geared to the edification and needs of this very group. If you want to sing altered words for your benefit only I would say that would be OK, but if we are going to sing it as a group we should honor the author’s purpose, for in sending forth this originating purpose we have no right to make a change. If we each sing different words then the Song will no longer be beautiful.
The one who altered the words then said: “But my intent is union; therefore, my joining in can only enhance the beauty of the singing.
This sounded like strange reasoning to the group but because of love and respect all were invited to join in and sing the Song together.
Most sang the Song in its original form but about a half dozen sang their own words in three different versions.
That which had been beautiful and joyful for the whole had now turned into a cacophony of sound that made some feel like running out the room and finding a quiet place.
Finally the choir director spoke:
“Stop! We cannot have this! This wonderful choir sounds very disharmonious and is even painful to the ear.”
Then he who changed the words spoke:
“I heard nothing but beauty and felt nothing but bliss for I was tuning into the inner meaning and beauty of the Song as we sang. If everyone would do as I do then all would be harmonious again.”
The director spoke in return:
“The majority of us are committed to the original intent of the Song and do not wish to alter it. As I see it there are two alternatives.
“The first alternative is that we could continue the group choir and just let everyone sing their own version and all try to tune in and make the best of it.”
He then asked the choir what they thought of this idea.
All but a couple thought this was a terrible idea. “How can there be true inner peace when there is no outer peace?” said one. “When we sang the Song in its original form we had both because out attention was pure, but now it is divided.
The director was silent for a moment and said:
“The second alternative is for those of you who want to change the Song to form your own separate choir and sing together. Then perhaps you can have outward as well as inward harmony. Then those of us who desire the original Song can sing with power and oneness as before.”
Then he who altered the words spoke:
“No. I do not desire to leave this choir. I love each of you and enjoy you association.”
“And we love you too,” said the director, “but to fulfill our purpose I must insist that all who sing together be united outwardly as well as inwardly, else the choir will lose interest and disperse and be no more.”
“You obviously do not see the same vision of the Song that I do,” said the man.
“Maybe not,” said the director, “but all must follow the highest they know and those of us who are united with the Song believe the original version is the best for our abilities and purpose.
“But I want to Sing with you,” said the man.
“Then sing with us in unison,” said the director. “There is no other way to give the song power as a group life.”
“I cannot,” said the man, “for I have seen a better way.”
“Then follow that way,” said the director, ‘but you cannot insist that we go with you. We will continue our association with you outside of the choir as long as you desire, and you are welcome back in whenever you are one with us.”
Then the director gathered those who wished to sing the original Song and the group sang anew and many heard the beauty and joined in with the choir and eventually split into numerous choirs and filled the world with the new Song that lifted the hearts of all.
From time to time there were others who sought to improve there Song and altered the words and meaning. Some attempted to form their own choirs thinking they would have great success with an improved version. A few gathered here and there to sing altered versions, but they did not grow because they had no group union and one by one they dissipated and the altered words were remembered no more.
Copyright by J J Dewey
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