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Saturday, August 27, 2011

My secret fantasy

Note: This post will not include anything about stripper poles, leather or anything else of an adult theme. If that's what you were hoping for, move along. Or get your mind out of the gutter and read on.

Raised Hands Pictures, Images and Photos

There are a few things you should know about me in order to understand my secret fantasy.
  1. I love to sing, but I'm not great at it.
  2. The only songs I know the words to are church music and show tunes.
  3. I'm a cradle Catholic (which means I've been Catholic since I was born).
I love the Catholic church. I love the tradition and the ritual. I love the universality of it -- knowing that the Scripture we're reading on Sunday is the same one being proclaimed in a Catholic church in Honduras and Vietnam and Germany on the same day. I love the presence of Christ in the Eucharist. (And I'm not here to debate the pros and cons of Catholicism. So if that's what you were hoping for, move along.)

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.


Eternal Lizdom said...

While not Catholic, you would be welcome to come to my church sometime and sing your heart out. We have some who stand stoic and somber, some who sing quietly, and some who stand and sway and sing and raise hands (I'm more that last one these days). If you ever want a place where you can stand and sing and where we all focus on the joyful noise (not the perfect noise), we'd LOVE to have you!

In fact... I might be able to get you a guest spot on our music team for one Sunday...

Erica Saint said...

Mass in Jamaica would be an awesome experience. How can we make that happen??

Ellen aka Ellie said...

Try E. 91st Street for good music!

Momza said...

You are Awesome!

Ellen aka Ellie said...

Thought of you at church tonight, where the music usually rocks but did not, and where I always sing horribly, but since the music is loud and we sit/stand in the front row, I can sing outloud 'cause no one can hear me!

Eileen said...

I was in tears too, sister. And I would sing with you.

Amy said...

Amy, I am more and more certain that you and I are cut from the same bolt of cloth in God's fabric store! I, too, absolutely adore the tradition and ritual, the universality and the music. That said, though, my secret fantasy is NOT to sing out in church, although I can see where that would be one amazing moment. Thank you for sharing! (and I loved the "move ons..."

PS~Holy Spirit at Geist rocks it on Sunday nights at 5PM. Just in case you're looking...

Stacy said...

I can't sing worth a lick, either, and like you it's one of my deepest desires to be able to belt one out.

I wonder, sometimes, if when someone is truely moved by the Spirit to sing their heart out in praises to God, that God doesn't work a miracle in the hearing of those listening so that we hear the same sweet sound that He hears.

I'm not brave enough to test the theory. :(

Unknown said...

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at 465.

I've heard good (pricey but good results) things about him up here, but I know you have some connections down there that might be good to hear before jumping in the deep end of the pool.

My e-mail

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Shelley said...

Go to a teen Mass -- the music is more rockin' at those!