Sunday, April 23, 2006

Start by doing what's necessary...

Over on my sidebar I have a quote from St. Francis of Assisi: "Start by doing what's necessary, then do the possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

In a small way, I got a taste of what this means today.

I have been a part of a folk choir in our parish since March, so I'm new to this group but I've been doing music ministry for 25 years. I'm still settling in with the group and it's been going pretty well. The group leader's husband is battling cancer right now, and when I called her today to find out what the musical selections included, someone else answered the phone and informed me that she had taken her husband to the hospital with a fever.

I had an hour and a half before Mass started, and I informed my husband that I had to be ready to take care of music at this Mass. There was no way that I was going to leave the church with no music if I could do anything about it, particularly during Easter time when it's everybody's job to "make a joyful noise unto the Lord."

So I read the readings, and planned some music that I hoped others in the group, if they showed up, would know. And as I started the car for church, I asked the Holy Spirit to give me a little extra help today.

When I got to church one of the deacons told me what I already knew--that Dave had gone to the hospital and his wife would not be there to lead the music. I told him that I had it covered and he needn't worry. The pastor was happy to hear that, when he came in, and I gave him a list of the music I had chosen. Then I got the music stand and the microphone and everything else arranged and ready. Two more adults and two girls who sing in the choir, including Middle Sister, were also ready to sing.

I announced the opening hymn but the microphone had mysteriously stopped working. I just kept singing. Father anounced the number again and we all went on with things. Before the Gloria I checked the mike connections and hoped for the best.

I sang with everything I had and more, hoping that it would be heard in the back of the church, and not knowing if the mike worked or not. I had to cantor the Psalm and accompany myself; again, I was singing with more power than I have ever had before. I do not have a solo quality voice and I do not have the ability to project my voice, "unplugged," through that large a space. But I could tell it was getting there. I could hear it. My voice was doing something that I know it cannot do, on its own. And I was so thankful for that gift, to be able to do what I knew was necessary but thought might be impossible, so there could be the proper music for the day.

We raised the roof on the Psalm (The Easter Verses from Celtic Alleluia) and the Lord's Prayer--mike or no mike.

I know it worked out when Father announced that the reason much of the choir was missing was that Dave was in the hospital, and he thanked me for handling the music today, even with a broken mike, observing that "Barbara has several children, so she's used to raising her voice."

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