There’s a priest who I often hear who has a liturgical style that, shall we say, does not suit me. When he randomly shouts out “The Lord be with You!” because he’s forgotten where we are in the mass, I often shake my head rather than respond. That’s pretty jerky, but I console myself by the fact that I’m not going home and writing long ranty posts about all the things I don’t like about his preaching and presiding.
I have written these posts over and over in my head. I am sure that I am right about all of these things. It feels SO GOOD to complain about it on the way home because it is evidence of how educated and particular and discerning and right I am! But I do whatever is the digital version of biting my tongue, because even though I am that sort of person, I don’t want to be.
Often I tease one of the choirs I direct that they make me like songs I don’t like. There are some pieces I am just not interested in singing or hearing ever again. But when I go in with that attitude, it’s harder to leave myself open to God working through music and through people.
Sometimes God works in ways we don’t approve of. This is why I don’t understand folks who spill tons of ink over how hideous everything liturgical is. If you don’t like it, don’t do it, but consistently focusing on the negative only ensures that you will never be happy.
Today we worked on ”Here I Am, Lord”. Some people don’t like that song, some people rant about it at length and scream about how bad it is and generally wear me out with their hatred of a song that may not be Chopin, but which gives people joy. Even though it’s not high art, I was moved today by the sound of lovely people singing it. That movement of my heart was prayer and gift, and I would have missed it if I gave all my energy to being superior and negative.
I’ll keep trying not to get mad when the sacraments don’t go how I want. I’ll keep trying to stay open to the work of God, even when I’m disappointed, even when I’m unhappy, even when I feel superior and smarter and more educated and advanced. And even if I can’t always stay as open to joy and grace as I want to be, I’ll try not to rant about all the things that bother me.