Not the Flute, But a Hole in the Flute

I attended a Taize worship service at the Law School yesterday. In addition to the Taize chants, we included two Hafiz poems that are on a CD of Hafiz’s poems, spoken to accompanying music.

One of the poems is one that I have always loved, A Hole in the Flute. The first line of the poem reads, “I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through. Listen to this music.”

I have always lived the image of Christ breathing through me, being the power behind that which I do in the world. The sense of being a channel of Christ in the world.

But today, for the first time, when I listened to the words I was stuck by the enormity of the difference between seeing oneself as one through whom Christ breathes – the flute, so to speak – and seeing oneself as one of the holes in the flute through which Christ breathes.

If there is only one hole, there is no music, only a singular note. The music comes from the air flowing through the different holes of a flute.

We are each holes in the flute. The music of Christ in the world comes not from our own individual effort – even our own individual effort inspired by Christ – but through our combined efforts, through the work we accomplish together in the world.

It is good to remember the difference. It is not just that it is Christ’s work we do, but Christ’s work that we do.