Church and Steeple

Church Steeple

There’s a peace I’ve come to know,
Though my heart and flesh may fail,
There’s an anchor for my soul,
I can say, “It is well.” 

My first year in Chicago involved an exhaustive, yearlong 50+ church search before finding my parish home. I was a member at Ascension in Oak Park for three years, where I joined as a cantor to make beautiful music with talented musicians, many of whom were connected to two local Catholic music publishers. I climbed a staircase to the pulpit to lead the psalms in a century-old church. I learned how to sing Gelineau, Taizé and other songs with rich tradition. And while that music is moving, it’s not always the music that moves me.

Last August, I was elated to return to Holy Name’s LifeTeen band I left in 2005 when I moved, and as luck would have it, they needed a piano player. From keys to drums, electric guitar & bass, and four vocals, my friends and I sing contemporary Catholic and Christian music. We groove with tight harmonies and glow with energy that gives me goosebumps and connects with the congregation in sung prayer. And the homilies are both meaningful and memorable.

And I hear the voice of many angels sing, 
“Worthy is the Lamb.” 
And I hear the cry of every longing heart, 
“Worthy is the Lamb.”

There’s an anchor for my soul,
I can say, “It is well.”

Because I am home.

Green Gables

Basilica of St. Mary

Today I was thinking about Epiphany Sunday during my photo walk. (Side note: Traditionally in Christianity, the Epiphany falls on the 6th of January, though it’s celebrated in my church the first Sunday following January 1.) I wanted to shoot something green, but finding that unlikely, I headed to the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.

I circled the basilica hoping to frame a unique photo, but the sky was a boring winter blue. And, then I found it. A green shingled roof on the property. Bingo.

As I thought about my newly taken photo during Mass tonight, I recalled a new translation of the Catholic Mass which reads: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.”

While probably not a theologically correct correlation, I wondered to myself, “Who else would I invite under my roof?” and metaphorically speaking, doesn’t all humanity live under the same roof with intertwining lives? The priest shared a message of caring for one another because we’re all in this world together.

I thought about how each of our ideas, words, emotions and actions has a rippling effect on others, in ways that are visible and invisible. I thought about the gifts of the Magi on this Epiphany Sunday—the gold, frankincense and myrrh—and how each person has their own unique gifts to share. Have you recognized your gifts? And, do you let them ripple with family, with friends, with colleagues, even strangers?

Twelve hours later, a seemingly simple, green gabled photo means more. It’s a symbolic invitation for me (and perhaps others) to share your roof, your heart, your gifts and your best self.