How can we not answer the call to serve? Service may be lived out in our parish and our Community in many ways, and in many ministries—indeed, this weekend we will have our Festival of Ministries at St. Aidan. All of our liturgical ministries need volunteers—including the Music Ministry for which I am responsible. Our Church documents remind us all that although there are some particular Ministers of Music (the actual members of the ensembles), all members of the body of Christ are called to sing! (I sometimes look around when announcing the hymns to see who bothers to pick up a hymnal…)
You can ask: why sing? Or even, why join the Music Ministry? Our Church documents tell us that the liturgy, our Sunday worship, is “the great song of praise of God’s people.” This song forms us into the body of Christ, into union, and into Communion with each other. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) says singing together will “intensify the unity of the people.” This is our mission! In the liturgy, the Music Ministry helps the Assembly to hear and to pray the Word of God; and so helps us all encounter Christ⎯the living song of God. We are all called to sing in thankfulness of God’s faithfulness. We all sing that God’s mercy is greater than our sin; we sing that God’s love is stronger than death.
So, where, then, is the suffering part of suffering servants? For our St. Aidan musicians it means keeping the Thursday evening rehearsal commitment when it is easier to stay at home for some (or any) reason. It is wanting to sleep late and attend the 11:30 Mass, but you get up and go early because we are scheduled to sing the 9:30am Mass. It is letting our families know when planning gatherings and events that you are serious about this ministry commitment. It is singing for Christmas Midnight Mass (or the Easter Saturday Vigil) and then getting up the next morning to sing Mass again although your formal ‘obligation’ to attend Mass has already been fulfilled—not that this suffering, really. It is Sacrificial—but such a joy to serve!
Of course, we all know this is obviously not the same suffering as what Christ endured for us; but it is serving the Community with your ability, your gifts; your time and talent and treasure (all gifts from God)—even when it is not convenient or easy. The funny thing is that while serving the people of St. Aidan, you will find that you will receive in turn: the satisfaction of helping someone; the joy of relationships in communities of work, service and love; the fulfillment of working in this ‘field of souls.’ And this weekend you will find that there are so many ministries in our parish from which to choose!
If you do have the gift of a pleasant voice and can sing in tune; and if you love music—please consider signing up for the Music Ministry. If you play an instrument, come and see me, talk to me. If music isn’t in you, isn’t your particular forte, then find another mission at the Festival. Still, and always:
Keep singing! (At least from the pew…)