There are a few things you should know about me in order to understand my secret fantasy.
- I love to sing, but I'm not great at it.
- The only songs I know the words to are church music and show tunes.
- I'm a cradle Catholic (which means I've been Catholic since I was born).
But one thing that is true about the Catholic church is that the music is often not exactly rockin'. Although 6pm Mass on Sunday nights at my church is as close as we Catholics dare come. Someday, I'm going to visit one of those evangelical, rockin' and swaying, churches where the music is alive. But that's not my secret fantasy.
My secret fantasy is that someday I'll stand up in the middle of my church, and moved by the Spirit, start belting out a song. This will likely always remain a fantasy because of #1 above. And because I care too much about what other people think and I'm pretty sure if I stood up in church and started singing a capella, they'd think I'd been sneaking a few too many sips of communion wine.
The closest I've ever come to even having the chance to fulfill my fantasy was last Sunday. We had a visiting priest who was there to raise money for Franciscan missions around the world. Fr. Ed was his name. Fr. Ed did exactly what I've always wanted to do. He stood up and starting singing when it was least expected:
"My God and my all, how I long to love you. To give you my heart, to give you my soul."
The difference is that a.) Fr. Ed is a priest and was running the show and b.) the man could SING.
His homily was about the fact that none of us is perfect, yet God calls each of us. I briefly considered that this was my opportunity -- to take my imperfect voice and answer the call I've felt for all these years to stand up and sing. Except that I think that "call" might actually be more ego than invitation.
Fr. Ed continued on, telling the story of an Easter Mass he was offering in Jamaica where one woman did sing out "God is not dead!" and another woman replied in song "He is alive!"
As Fr. Ed told the story, singing as the women in that small church had sung, I began to cry. I wasn't sad. It wasn't about wanting to sing out and not doing it. I was moved by the love and the Spirit these women felt, carried across the world by a priest to my own church, where that same love and Spirit touched my heart.
I think if I ever had the chance to make my secret fantasy a reality, I missed it last week. Unless I go to church in Jamaica someday.