Saturday, February 03, 2007

Saints and singers

I just attended the first all-men’s prayer meeting for the year of my Catholic charismatic community called Ang Lingkod Ng Panginoon. Around fifty (50) single young professionals from all over the metro converged at one of the function rooms in the parish center of Don Bosco in Makati for this very timely respite from the cares of the world set by the Lord. I tend to lose sight of His presence in my life in the daily onslaught of deadlines; tonight, it is as if my spiritual batteries have been recharged.

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Center of the universe I am not

The activity began with Worship, a session where prayers and exhortations are interspersed with singing of praise songs. Being in the Lingkod community for almost a year now, I know many of the songs already so much so that I don’t have to look that often at the lyrics projected on the white screen. “Many” being the operative word.

During worship, I thought I knew one of the songs well enough to sing my heart out. I was- well- letting it all out, to the point that I was, well, performing and not praying anymore. For that window of time, let’s just say nag-feeling Philippine Idol ako.

The first verse and the chorus were very familiar, so I sang those parts without any difficulty. However, I did not know or forgot that the second verse is followed immediately by the third verse. So, while singing at the top of my voice, with my eyes closed, I uttered the first syllables of the chorus while everybody else sang the calmer, softer first syllables of the third verse.

Boy- did my voice stand out!

I stifled the release of the next chorus syllables from my mouth and beamed sheepishly. I opened my eyes, expecting to see giggling or curious stares towards my direction. But there was none: all the brothers’ eyes were closed, still in continuous prayer and communion with the Lord.

Lesson number 1: I am not the center of the universe. God is.

People remained deep in prayer because IT IS GOD’S TIME TO BE THE CENTER OF ATTENTION. It was so foolish of me to think that my little blunder would throw people off. In our world that is full of distractions and disruptions, it is so easy to lose sight of God. But if we fix our hearts and minds on Him and His Word, our attachment to Him will put to shame all the Mighty-Bonds and double-sided tapes and soldering in the world.

Lesson number 2: I am the center of God’s universe, regardless of my singing ability.

I remember reading Bo Sanchez’s piece regarding his awful singing which he likened to a screeching washing machine. I, too, have sat beside such a lady in the PGH chapel during med school. And with the lyrics that I fumbled with during our prayer meeting this evening, I believe I have earned the right to join their ranks: the chorale-of-the-apparent- rejects-of-the-heavenly-host.

But guess what! God, in His infinite perfection, is actually tone-deaf. Not deaf to the point that He cannot hear our pleas, prayers, and thanksgiving. Just tone-deaf. All that emanates from our mouths, when sang or spoken with great faith in and love for Him arrive at His throne of grace as the sweetest music ever.

Each of our voices He hears distinctly as if you or me, plus Himself, are the only ones in the vast universe. Like a father who gladly endures his sons senseless clanging of piano keys or the mother who beams happily while her daughter grates mercilessly her bow on her violin, God pays close attention to each one of us, deriving joy and pleasure from our feeble but spirited attempts at worship. In that zone, if we were to ask God, we’d be referred to as Dions and Bocellis and Nieveras and Salongas.

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The small, daily miracles in my life, I consider, are God’s way of singing back to me. How sweet these songs are, I cannot begin to describe…

May God’s melody fill your day today and always.

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The brothers and sisters of Lingkod – Manila meet every Friday (except the 3rd Friday of each month), 7-10pm at S.M. Lazo Building, corner of Taft and Nakpil. If you can’t seem to feel God’s rhythm in your life, maybe we can help fine tune your antenna. Just leave a message =)

3 comments:

  1. ian! you just made me laughed hard! but i say AMEN to what you wrote here :-) you couldn't have said it any better. if you may allow me, i'd like to relate how during nltc 2005, i opened my eyes to find that i have rotated in my place while i was engrossed in the worship songs we were singings. i opened my eyes to find my self facing the person at my back. i was surprised that he (and all of them at the back) too were still very deep in worship, unmindful of the strange thing happening to me. what i'm trying to say here is that in prayer, it's just you and God and nothing else should matter. God bless!

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  2. Wow Bro, it's good to see Lingkod members here in Blogspot! Ang alam ko lang kasing meron..sina Sis Ella (National), Bro Ted (QC), Bro Rick (Cavite), Bro Wyatt ( Angeles). Happy Anniversary na rin sa Lingkod-Manila (got this blogspot address from my NLTC yahoogroup). Keep fanning the flame of faith :)

    Sherill
    Lingkod-San Fernando

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  3. Thanks, Sis Sherill! The anniv was a blast =) God bless you always and regards sa bros and sis in SF!

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