Posted by: Michelle Knoll | October 28, 2012

Thirty-One Days of Hearing His Voice {Day 28} – “There’s a difference between ‘unison’ and ‘unity’.”

“There’s a difference between ‘unison’ and ‘unity’.”

“Really, Lord?  How so?”

“Well, look them up, and then we’ll talk.”

“Okay.”  (I access Free Online Dictionary and proceed to read the two definitions.)  “Oh!  I see that ‘unison’ means ‘identity of pitch; the combination of parts at the same pitch or in octaves’.”  And ‘unity’ means ‘the state or quality of being in accord; harmony; the combination or arrangement of parts into a whole’.  That’s pretty interesting, Lord.”

“Yes, it is.  Now let’s talk about these two words as they relate to music.”


“In music, if everyone is singing in ‘unison,’ then what are they singing?”

“The same part.”

“Right! But if the choir was singing in ‘unity,’ according to these definitions you read, then would they be singing the same notes?  Or would they be singing different notes?”

“You mean like parts?  Like soprano, alto, tenor, and bass?”

“Yes, I mean parts.  Is unity the same as singing parts?”

“Well, yeah!  Unity would be the choir singing different parts and blending them into a whole, if I’m reading the definition correctly.”

“Don’t worry.  You are.”  🙂  “Now, let’s go back to the first definition.  What happens if the choir is singing in unison, and one person who is a lead singer with a strong voice gets ever so slightly off-key?  What will the rest of the singers do?”

(I ponder the idea.)  “Well, hmm.  If one of them gets off-key, just a little bit, but he’s kinda the leader of the whole choir, then the rest are going to follow him.”

“And then what would happen?”

“The whole choir would get off-key.”

“That’s right.  And then what would be the end result?”

“The choir would end up way off course.”

“Exactly!  Now, suppose the choir had four sections singing different parts, and suppose one section had one person who got a little off-key.  What would happen then?”

“Well, it’s still possible that the whole choir could get off-key, if that one person was the leader of his/her particular section, because he/she could lead that section off-key, and if the rest of the choir was trying to keep everything together, and wasn’t standing strong on their own parts, then they would just follow the section that was off-key.”

“True, but would it happen just as easily?”

“Well, no.  The other sections would probably realize something was wrong, and they would try to get the wayward section back on track by… singing louder, or something.”

“Right.  So when it comes to singing, which type would be the ‘safer’ type of singing?  Unison?  Or unity?”

“Well, if by ‘safe’ you mean staying closer to the correct pitch, I guess it would be the choir that’s singing parts.”

“Precisely.  Now, let’s look at how this works in real life.”


“When two kids play on a seesaw, does it work when both kids are on the same side?”

“No!  If both kids are on the same side, then the seesaw won’t work at all.  It’s tilted to one side, and can’t be placed in balance.”

“Right!  And the seesaw isn’t any fun if it’s always tilted to one side, is it?”

“No, it’s not.”

“Likewise, if a group of people all decide to think the same way, and they all talk the same way, how would they know they were headed in the wrong direction?  Who would tell them they were not thinking correctly, if all were thinking the same thing?”

“Hmm.  I’m not sure.  If there was no one else around, at all, and this group of people were all thinking the same way, but their thinking was incorrect, then… I guess they would just keep going in the wrong direction.”

“Yes, they would.  Do you consider this a dangerous proposition?”

“Yes, I do.  Though I have to admit, most people think it’s nicer and more peaceful if everyone is thinking the same way.”

“Well, it might be peaceful for a while, but when things get off course, the peace would quickly evaporate.”

“True, Lord.”

“You know, I talked about this in My Word.”

“Yes, You did, Lord.  You told the story of the tower of Babel, where everyone was thinking the same thing.”

“That’s right.  And they weren’t thinking the right thing, even though they were all thinking the same thing.  And where did it get them?”

“Well, you confused their language so they couldn’t work together.”

“Yes, I had to.  Because I knew what they would accomplish.  See, being in unison is strong, but there’s more of a chance to do the wrong thing.  Being in unity can also be strong, but it takes more work to stay in unity than it does to stay in unison.  Still, being in unity will keep a group of people safe, because their opposing viewpoints will help keep wrong beliefs and wrong attitudes in check.”

“So, the side or sides with the opposite viewpoint can keep the side with the wrong viewpoint from leading the whole group of people astray.”

“That’s right.”

“Wow, Lord.”

“Now, big question:  can you apply this to America’s form of government?”

(smiles)  “Yes, Lord.  I think I can.  But if I try to share this with anyone, I’m not sure they’ll like it too much.”

“Why would people not like this?”

“Because when it comes to our government, both sides pretty much think the other side is filled with stupid idiots.”

“Ah, yes.  So what happens then?”

“Well, they don’t listen to each other.”

“And then, if one of those sides gets way off track, but refuses to listen to the viewpoints of the other side, what’s going to happen to the side that’s getting off track?”

“It’s just going to keep moving further off track.”

“And will anyone be able to stop them?”

“No, I guess not.”

“That’s a very sad place to be, isn’t it?”

“Yes, Lord, it is.”

“They really should listen to one another, shouldn’t they?”

“Yes, Lord.  They should.”

“Now, dear one, do you see why I wrote in Psalms, ‘how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!’ There’s a reason I used that particular word, you know?”

“Wow, Lord.  Yes, I do see why You wrote it that way!”

“Yes.  And I wish more people would take the time to think about this.”

“Me, too, Lord.  Me, too.”


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