On the recent youth group pilgrimage I was invited, at the insistence of the locals, to pick up a guitar and sing. The last time I did that was three years ago when I was on sabbatical, and it seems the good people of Roundwood & Glenmalur had not forgotten. I played a few songs, having livened up the crowd, and afterwards tried to hand the guitar back. “Oh, no!” They said to me. And next thing I know, is that my name and title are being announced having come “All the way from San Francisco to play for us!”
Now, understand, I won’t let the experience go to my head! If anything, I was simply a part of a dynamic that also has its origin in church. I’ll explain. During a slight break in the music — we played for hours on end — one of the guitarists said to me:
“When we play, anyone is welcome no matter their skill. Tonight you have the floor but on some nights I’ve seen as many as thirty people come up and give a performance! Thirty people! Some of them have no skill at all but everyone is welcome because this is a gift of the people. I tell you, Father, it’s like magic when that happens.”
I know what he means.
I remember playing “I Can See Clearly Now” when a young women was moved to stand next to me and belt out the tune. That was moving.
The same feeling follows when people in the congregation share their gifts and talents. Isn’t it moving to see how the altar is set up so beautifully on a Sunday morning? It got that way because someone, or several someones, shared their gifts!
Or isn’t it delightful being greeted by a greeter or usher before church begins? It puts the morning in right perspective doesn’t it? Again, it’s the power of sharing our gifts with each other.
We could use a whole lot more of that right now: LEMs, Ushers, Altar Guild and more. And its not just the task of finding more people to serve, but rather the joy of experiencing another person’s gift. As the guitarist said to me: “When that happens, it is magical!”
Care to “step up to the mic?” Let me know so that we can find a right place for you! We need your gifts!
Yours for the reign of God,