Friday, September 14, 2001

Silent Running

I’ve been deathly quiet in this medium for a long time now. I had a lot of big, clever, funny things I’d been saving up to say. Then Tuesday happened: and suddenly, I didn’t feel very big or very clever, and nothing seemed very funny.

I spent Tuesday night in church, which is not unusual in itself—that’s the night for choir practice. About two hours before the scheduled practice I was strongly considering cancelling—then I got a call that there a special Mass had been hastily arranged for 8:30 PM, and I said Let’s do it.

Only a few people showed for 7:00 rehearsal, but they were all game to stay and sing the Mass immediately following. We threw ourselves into the task of assembling a program of songs with a certain jolly desperation: C’mon, kids, let’s put on a show!—singing songs to keep the dark away. But as the church slowly filled with people, familiar faces made strange by an uncharacteristic whapped-upside-the-head-with-a-stout-plank cast to their expressions, I knew that this was the place to be. At least singing “Dona Nobis Pacem” with a lump in my throat felt a hell of a lot more useful than chewing my cuticles bloody in front of CNN.

I’m worried now about what choices my role might force me to take in the weeks and months ahead—what songs I will be asked to sing, in pursuit of what agendas. The church has an obvious role in bringing aid and comfort, and in asking mercy and blessing upon our nation and our people: but the church can also be used to whip a people into a belligerent frenzy (glory, glory hallelujah!), and of that I want no part.

Small problems, indeed. Pray for me. For all of us.

No comments: