“What if” that person spent 10 years traveling all over the globe finding “street” musicians anywhere and everywhere to record an old pop favorite, Stand By Me?
“What if” they did record it, despite the fact that none of the musicians left their native land or envoirnment to do so, but through technology, a street musician in New Orleans, La. was able to sing with another street musician in Santa Monica, Calif.?
“What if” those two were able to sing with a choir in South Africa, Native American drummers in New Mexico, guitar players in Brazil, Cuba, and Italy, and those musicians could play with someone playing the cello in Moscow Square in Russia?
“What if” that entire group could sing and play with other musicians from France, Israel, and the Netherlands?
Well, that is exactly what they did!
In an amazing recording accomplishment, all playing the same tune, all singing with each other, and all sharing the God-given talents they have, these street musicians made a recording, and made history in the process.
“What if” this record could demonstrate one of the most basic principles of stewardship, which is that we should be grateful for the gifts God gave us, take care of those gifts, and share them with others, even with those around the world? It certainly does that!
“What if” the founder of “Playing for Change,” Mark Johnson, was so overwhelmed with the hospitality, kindness and talent freely shared with him and his crew by these musicians from all over the world, that he desired to give something back to the communities he met? He did! This is really a great story of stewardship.
The Playing for Change Foundation (PFCF) is dedicated to connecting the world through music by providing resources (including, but not limited to facilities, supplies, and educational programs) to musicians and their communities around the world.
“The act of playing music with people of different cultures, religions, economics and politics is a powerful statement,” says Mark Johnson. “It shows that we can find ways of working together and sharing our experiences with one another in a positive way. Music has the power to break down the walls between cultures, to raise the level of human understanding.”
Last year at my parish, St. John the Apostle in Minot, N.D., we introduced the classes of our CCD program to “Playing for Change” as just one example of how people “singing the same tune” can accomplish something amazing. It was compared to the history and life of the Church. In our Catholic tradition, we profess the same beliefs that unite us and make us Catholic with our brothers and sisters all over the world, and locally with each other here in our parish family. The CCD students received four weeks of stewardship formation throughout the month of September. These students and the Catholic school students of our parish were given the opportunity to fill out and submit their own Commitment Cards, which they did at our Annual Stewardship Renewal. The students were shown the video presentation of Stand By Me, and we talked about our need to “stand by each other” in our parish family. Each person of our parish family, regardless of age, has a gift to share and some time to give thanks to God. It unites us as a parish. It unites us as a community. It unites us as a country, and it unites us as a Universal Church. That is stewardship! Can stewardship change our world? Why couldn’t it? “What if” each of us had a chance to do our part to make it happen? We do! It is called living the stewardship way of life.
As you continue your stewardship journey, remember to do your part to share in the “song, prayer, life, care and faith” that unites us, with each and all our brothers and sisters locally and around the world. That is stewardship and discipleship as lived the way Jesus intended. “What if this could happen?” It is up to you and me to see to it that it will. And that is our stewardship!