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Off-Key Singing at Mass

angels singing at mass

Raise your hand if you get annoyed when the people sitting directly behind you are singing so loud at Mass they drown out….well, everything.

Right there with ya.

If they have good voices it’s not so bad. Used to bother me more than it does now. I guess middle age has mellowed me.

Thankfully, from my experience, most loud Mass singers can carry a tune.

But if they can’t carry a tune in a wheelbarrow, Jesus help us all.

I was sitting in front of a mediocre Mass singer one Sunday morning and the first thought that came to mind was, “Maybe I can drown him out with my own voice.”

I gave it a go but the problem was his off key notes were throwing me off key. Good gravy! Then it hit me…

What’s the big deal with off-key singing at Mass?

Off-Key Singing at Mass is Still Singing

Off-key singers are participating fully in the Mass, exactly what Jesus calls us to do. Perhaps age has robbed this particular gentleman of the voice he once had. But at least he’s trying. And probably enjoying himself to boot.

How many times have I sat down at Mass and not even picked up the hymnal? More than I care to admit.

I can sing but I don’t sing at every single Mass. I sing some songs but not others. I rarely sing the communion hymns unless I know the lyrics and like the song.

Yet I’m doggin’ on the guy behind me because he’s singing off key?

I have no excuse. I have the ability to contribute to the joyful noise. I have a hymnal in front me with all the lyrics. What’s holding me back?

Pride. Just pride.

Wanting to pick and choose. Wanting to show up at Mass and do my thing when I’m there to do God’s thing.

Its a celebration! We’re here with Jesus Christ, Our Savior. Why wouldn’t we want to sing about it?

Think about the first Christians. They didn’t all have good voices. But they sang their hearts out. The Bible says so.

“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,” – Acts 16:25

Paul and Silas sang in prison. Prison!

If they sang in prison, then none of us has an excuse at Mass.

Bottom line, the good singing and the off-key singing at Mass are one in the same. Both glorify God.

So whether your voice is good, bad or ugly – pick up the hymnal and let ‘er rip!

Todd K Marsha is a Catholic husband and father living in suburban Kansas City. Through his writing charism he tells the powerful story of his conversion to the faith, his triumphs through God's grace, and his continuing struggle to live a more Christ-like life.

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