Learning From Beyoncé

So now that the pomp and circumstance of the Inauguration are past and the last remnants of paper flags and confetti have been swept away, what shall we learn? The frequently repeated reminder about the peaceful transition of government in this land is worth restating, I suppose. And the old adage about memorizing your lines was proven true in the President’s momentary slip in repeating the oath, giving comfort to all of us who have done the same. But the music—it was majestic, wasn’t it?—by any standards, one could argue. The U.S. Marine Corp Band, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson. And then there was Beyoncé’s rendition of the national anthem to close it all. Buoyant with energy and confidence, the young singer belted out the familiar “Star Spangled Banner.” And all was well. Until somebody suggested that in fact she was lip-syncing with a recording of herself, a recording that included the accompaniment of the Marine Corp Band. Lip-syncing? You know, singing along with yourself, so to speak. Google the story and you’ll read a host of opinions, including some who say the band itself wasn’t really accompanying the singer, just moving their fingers and hands and lips. Just like Beyoncé. But does it really matter? No. Singers have done it a thousand times before (for a host of reasons, including feeling ill), and they will surely do it again. But the act of singing along with yourself does provide a current events segue (the weekly theme of this Fourth Watch blog) to an ancient concept that still matters. Jesus once gave a definition of what it means to be a disciple: “‘A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher’” (Luke 6:40). His point? If you want to be a disciple, seek to become like your master. And if your Master if the Lord Jesus Christ, then the goal of anyone who desires to follow Him is to be like Him. It’s been that way for millennia—the young followers of sages and prophets and masters have ever sought to become like their leader. Jesus says it is to be so for those of us who choose to follow Him. I like the way Desire of Ages describes it: “Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple.” “Let Him be reflected in [your] character and manifested in [your] life.” (826) Then you won’t be singing along with yourself—why make yourself your highest standard? You’ll be singing along with Him—and it will be His voice that will be heard through you. And when the song is over, He will be the One they’ll be talking about—which, of course, is what every disciple wants in the first place.

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