Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Cluster Monster is Back

The Cluster Monster’s back
and he has reared his ugly head.
The Cluster Monster’s back,
And he wants to be fed.

He is a fat and ugly Monster
and he hides under the pew.
And you may not even realize
that he is looking for you.

He only has one eye,
only one point of view.
He never uses logic.
Stay alert, for he is coming for you.

This Monster has devoured churches.
He has locked up their front doors.
If you are not standing watch
He will make your church be no more.

Cluster, merge, combine
It’s really all semantics.
People, please be careful
Of this deadly Monster’s antics.

Oh, he’s smooth. . oh so smooth.
He will ask you to dance.
Invite you to meetings,
you’ll think it’s sheer romance.

But then, he’ll trade up your dance partners,
Hokey pokey, turn your parish inside out,
‘Cuz, to date, that’s all he’s done here.
So, pardon me if I let my anger, frustration out.

He’ll ask for your opinion
for your point of view,
but then he’ll destroy what you have built
‘Cuz this Monster doesn’t have a clue.

The Monster discounts all your work
Cares not about community,
He doesn’t see your parish’s charisms,
For his one eye just doesn’t see.

And even if he couldn’t see
that would be no sin.
“But I see that this is how it all must be,” he states,
And into your church The Monster enters in.
(John 9:41)

He doesn’t answer phone calls, letters.
He does not listen at all.
He’s destroying his own kingdom
And yet,
somehow he thinks he’s standing tall.

The Monster confronts and changes plans
Of those who are most proactive,
And rewards those who refuse to work
Rewards those who are so very pastorally passive.

A Diaspora among us
The Schism now and real.
And The Monster’s locking doors???
Taking churches for his meal???

Hey, Monster, say “yes” when you mean “yes”
and “no” when you mean “no.”
For if you don’t than having all these meetings
Is nothing more than a time consuming
ecclesial big top circus side show.

Let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes’
and let your ‘no’ mean ‘no’
Anything more is from the evil one,
at least, St. Matthew told me so.
(Matthew 5:37)

Monster, your actions illogical, uncompassionate.
Your actions shameful and immoral.
Cluster Monster, you are destructive
and so very unpastoral.

Hey, Cluster Monster!
I refuse to dance!
Hey, Custer Monster
with this poem I take my stance.

I offer prayers for all those
Wounded by your action
May they be healed and rise above
Your pastoral infraction.

I offer prayers for all those
Whose vocations are being discounted, ignored.
May you, amidst, against all the odds, rise
To serve God’s people, serve the Lord.

Pentecost is coming.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Make that Cluster Monster know you!
To God’s will may that Monster succumb.

Come, Oh Holy Spirit!
Ruah, can you, will come with great force again?
Come, Oh Holy Spirit!
Amen and Amen.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Lord Is My Shepherd

I played for a funeral yesterday.
I received a phone call from the pastor
asking if I was available
to serve as musician.

When I arrived at the church
I learned that the deceased
was an uncle
to two of the children that sing
in the children’s choir.
They are sisters.

I knew that he had been ill.
The girls sometimes
didn’t make it to mass
or to a rehearsal
because they and their mother
were caring for him.

They told me that their uncle
looked just like he always does,
only as if he were asleep.
I walked with them to the coffin.
They told me was 52 years old.

I asked them how their mother was.
They said she was fine,
But did cry every once in a while.
I told them that sometimes
it’s just a sad thing when someone dies.
even if they had an illness,
like their uncle did,
and we know that they are dying,
It still is sad.

It's sad for us
because we won't see them anymore.
we know they are in heaven.
But still,
we are saddened
that they have died.

They asked me
if I needed them to sing with me.
Of course,
I welcomed them.
But I told them to check with their mother first
as she might need them
to sit with her.
I told them
that sometimes it just feels better
if you have your people with you
during moments such as these.

The girls decided to sing.
But once I started the psalm
little Chelsea broke down.

The power of music,
the power of the psalm
Just amazes me,
“El SeƱor es mi pastor
(The Lord is my shepherd. . .)
I continued the psalm
and the child buried her face in her hands,
trembling as she wept.
During the second reading
I walked over to her
and just hugged her.
I asked her if she wanted to sit with her mother,
and she said, “no.”

She wanted to sing.
She needed to sing.
She knew that this
is where she need to be.

I don’t know
if I’m about to explain this
so that others can understand.
But herein lies the difference
between being a musician
who works for the church
and serving as pastoral musician.
This wasn’t just about
giving a hug to someone who needed it.
It was realizing
that little girl
knew full well
that music is her ministry
and despite life’s struggle and pain
she wanted and needed
to sing for this mass.
And I knew
that she also knew this.
Does this make sense
to anyone else but me?
You know,
It really doesn’t matter.
I understood well
What was happening.
And I am all the better for it.

As mass was finishing,
The girls walked through the door
and down the stairs of the choir loft.
Chelsea ran back up.
She said, “Bye, Rubi,”
and then started down again.

These may seem like incidental things
that I write about here.
I think these girls,
especially the one moved to tears,
committed themselves
to the music ministry
in a very special way.

The Lord IS my shepherd.
And it just thrills me
That you can say the same thing.