I played guitar at Mass this morning for the first time in about six years. St. Augustine said, “He who sings, prays twice.” If they sing along to my guitar playing, I think there’s a much larger multiplier. The last time I played for Mass was when I was deployed to the Middle East. The “chapel” in which all services were conducted was used for training during the day, and for various religious functions in the evening and on weekends. There was no permanent altar, no organ, no choir director (because there was no choir so we made do with what we had. Services for every denomination were accommodated. There was a tabernacle for the Catholics to place the Holy Eucharist. There were areas designated for the Muslim service members to store their prayer rugs. Anyone who wanted to spend time with God was accommodated. However, the permanent functions most of us are used to didn’t/couldn’t exist. Most “parishioners” were only there for eight months to a year and the chaplains rotated every two months or so. It was what you might call a transient parish.
I figure that every talent I have came as a blessing, so I certainly should acknowledge from where they came. I try to play and sing as best as I can, but I remember one chaplain I met up at the Fort Dix/McGuire/Lakehurst Joint Base. This chaplain was a black priest by the name of, and I’m not kidding, Father Martin Luther King. He preached and held song in the same way many of my Protestant friends do. He chided the parish to SING! “If you don’t like your voice,” he’d say (well, more like boom), “remember it was God who gave it to you. If you don’t like it, give it back to him! SING!” That’s the way I look at my guitar playing. I have as much talent as He saw fit to give me.
Actually, I look at it more through the eyes of a parent. As a parent, I’m thrilled when I get the chance to see my children perform. I believe that as our Father, God looks at my performance the same way. I may not have played perfectly. I may not be the most talented musician. However, I think God is a most appreciative audience.