Stealth Missionary…Day 7

One thing I didn’t mention when I was writing here about my licensing service, was, well, what it was like to tell other people about it, both before and after the event.  It took me a few tries to refine my answer to the question, “Great….what does that mean?” — a question that I got not only from non-Calvary members, but also from a lot of Calvary congregants as well.  But I didn’t really have an answer to the follow-on question:  “Great…so now, what will you do?”

The answer, for me, was and still is in many ways simply this:  I will do what I have done; I will continue to listen for God’s guidance, I will continue to look for that place that Bonhoeffer describes as the place where the world’s great hunger meets my greatest gladness, and I will continue to follow the bread crumbs that God leaves for me.  Well, you know we are Americans, after all.  That answer didn’t satisfy very many people.  They wanted me to have a plan, a set of action steps, a 5-year goal.  Gosh, I wanted one of those too because that was what I was used to, comfortable with, but I chose to stand without one for a while since the way was not clear.

I was actually very proud of myself, because I didn’t have a plan.  Uneasy, but pleased.

If you’ve read anything else that I’ve written here, it hasn’t escaped you that for the last couple of years, I have been locked in a searching journey that involved questions like:  Why sing?  What purpose does it serve?  What should I sing?  What meaning can there be in “secular” music, like opera?   These questions are, frankly, the only reason that this blog exists.   I had lots of questions, and no really good answers.

But last Saturday, in my class, Music and Social Justice,  a job title came bubbling out of my mouth and it seemed comfortable and right:  when it came time to introduce myself, I described myself as a “stealth missionary”.

Camouflage...missionaries, fish, it's all the same.

You see,  the one thing that I have known for a while is that, while I am called to do considerable work within the church community,  I know that, because of the type of voice that I have, I must also be called to work outside the church community, to reach those who feel damaged by church and would never cross its portal, to reach those who might have never and might never consider church at all:  to reach those people and offer them the peace of Christ under another name — beauty.  I became aware of this part of my calling  years ago, when, after one of our Good Friday concerts, a friend who I know to be particularly unchurched came up to me and said, “Thank you;  I didn’t realize how much I needed to hear that on this day.   I didn’t know how much I needed to hear something peaceful and beautiful.”

Stealth Missionary:  well, really all people of faith are stealth missionaries…you hope that by the way you live your life, by the light that you hope shines clearly through you, that you will on occasion provide peace and comfort to someone who doesn’t know where to find it;  that you may even get a chance to answer the question, “Why are you always so happy” or “Nothing seems to ruffle you…how do you do it?” and through an answer bring someone closer to a life of faith.  And it is my hope that when I stand up to sing, I can communicate the love and peace of Christ through music.  I’ve felt that call for a long time; music is far too hard a life and profession to take up lightly.

And so  now, I have a name for this way of living.  Stealth Missionary.  Now I just have to figure out how to do it! But I think I’ll order the business cards now…

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1 thought on “Stealth Missionary…Day 7

  1. Hi there,

    I tried numerous times this a.m. to leave a comment on your Call posting.
    WordPress kept refusing it with a ‘looks like you’re duplicating your comment’ message.

    So, guess I’m going to try leaving the message here (that idea comes to me just now, as I’m typing this comment to you.)

    I’ve enjoyed your blog!

    Appreciated reading your response to Guinness’s thoughts.

    I’m a Guinness fan (Long Journey Home; Prophetic Untimeliness…)

    I find myself at a point in life where I have to do some careful thinking about the Audience I live my life before. Came across this in my googling, this a.m. (excerpt from The Call, to help me out).

    It was good to be able to read someone’s personal reflection on the challenging shift in thinking (or the challenging reaction) that the book & his thoughts caused.

    My daughter is a performer also. I’ve copied both the book excerpt & your post, on to her, for her reflection.

    Meanwhile, I hope you stop at no lengths (and myself too) to undergo the massive conversion from outer audience, to the Audience of One. As I wrote to my daughter, we’re all living our lives before audiences, all the time, performer or not.

    My guess is, it takes the power of a saint to do so — (not many of those around these days).

    But also, isn’t that what the New Testament writings assume each believer is?

    Paul certainly does.

    So, onward my dear soul, to that which was always meant to be ours, in Christ.

    “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” Php 3:12.

    “For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding;
    If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures;
    Then you will discern the fear of the LORD, And discover the knowledge of God.
    For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
    He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
    Guarding the paths of justice, And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
    Then you will discern righteousness and justice and equity and every good course.
    For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
    Discretion will guard you, Understanding will watch over you…” Prov 2: 3-11

    “Buy truth, and do not sell it, get wisdom and instruction and understanding.” Prov 23:23

    Though it cost all we have (it will) may we, indeed, learn to live our lives before that Audience of One, alone.

    We won’t regret it.

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