The Anatomy of an Echo

The Anatomy of an Echo
July 23, 2015 Dan Wunderlich

An echo requires three primary things:

  • A Source to create the sound
  • A Surface to reflect the sound
  • A Medium to carry the energy of the sound (like air, water, etc.)

These three anatomical parts of an echo can be used to illustrate the parts of discipleship:

  • God/Jesus is the Source
  • We are the reflecting Surface
  • The Holy Spirit is the Medium
    • It is especially cool that the New Testament word for Spirit is the same as breath, which is a type of medium.

To produce a really good echo, there are three primary factors:

  • The Source and Surface must be aligned
  • The Source originates the energy
  • The Surface must reflect the energy

These three factors to producing a really good echo also translate to the practice of discipleship:

  • We must align ourselves with God in order to get anything out of it- not the other way around
  • The energy/love/mercy/grace/purpose/calling originate from God- not the other way around
  • We cannot simply absorb what God gives us, but we must reflect it back out into the world
    • It is, again, especially cool that echoes are not copies or knock-offs, but reflections of the energy sent out by the Source. Poor surfaces can distort the sound, but it is still a remnant of the same energy. The more we allow discipleship to shape us into a truly reflective surface, the more accurate our echo will be.

Here’s one last cool connection between echoes and discipleship:

  • According to Wikipedia, which is always can be accurate, it takes about 1/15 of a second for our ears and brain to process sound, and the speed of sound is 343 meters per second at room temperature.
  • This means that if the Source and the Surface are close enough (11.3 meters or closer), the sound of the source and the echo are indistinguishable.
  • The closer we draw to God through discipleship, the more we become the hands and feet of Christ.

Major thanks for the inspiration of this week’s post goes to the good people at the Warren Willis United Methodist Camp in Fruitland Park, FL. Their summer theme this year is “Echo: A Life Worth Living,” and the ideas in this post came from my research and prep to preach a week’s worth of high school chapel for them. If you live in Florida or want to send your kids down to Florida for a great summer camp experience (as well as great non-summer programming), check them out!

Header image by Flickr user Ian Burt. Used under Creative Commons License. Cropped from Original.

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