May 25, 2019

What is Your Gig?

Several years ago, on a warm August evening, I rushed to find a parking spot in downtown Detroit. Shortly, I would have the privilege of serving as deacon of the Mass at a national conference of musicians. Now given that my musical and singing skills are on par with a resting stone, the reason I was chosen for that assignment remains a mystery. However, my selection does reveal that God possesses a sense of humor. And that evening, I am sure, chuckles could be heard throughout the heavens.

After having found a parking spot a few blocks from the convention center, I gathered my liturgical vestments for what would be a pleasant walk. But then, with my vestments blowing in the wind, it happened. A homeless man appeared out of nowhere and asked me a question: “Sir, what’s your gig?”

Quickly, I introduced myself and informed him where I was going and what I would be doing. After asking him his name and engaging in a short conversation, I remembered his parting words that continue to echo in my ears: “Thank you, deacon, for all that you do. May God bless you.”

Upon returning home, however, I remained puzzled by his statement: “What’s your gig?” And so, I turned to the New Oxford American Dictionary. They note that a gig is “a live performance by or engagement for a musician or group playing popular or jazz music.” But it can also refer to “a job, especially one that is temporary or that has an uncertain future.”

Temporary and uncertain. As Christians, can this be true? I propose that in a certain sense, yes. And, in another sense, no. First, one cannot deny the reality that each of our gigs will ultimately—end. Careers, jobs, and occupations each have a beginning and an end. Regarding past civilizations, historians have documented their beginning and end. Likewise, each of us has a beginning and end. Each of us has been born. Each of us will die. Given this, there is a finality associated with each of our gigs. But there is also eternity present in them. How so? In each moment that God gives us, He is present. In our every action, hope, and dream, He prepares us for eternal life. Day by day, we are called to recognize His presence in our lives and acknowledge that it is He who sustains and provides us the courage to move forward.

So, while earthly gigs are important, the psalmist (27) notes there is one thing we should ask of the Lord: “…to live in the house of the Lord, all the days of my life, to savor the sweetness of the Lord, to behold his temple. For there he keeps me safe in his tent in the day of evil. He hides me in the shelter of his tent, on a rock he sets me safe…It is your face, O Lord, that I seek; hide not your face.”

And so, in your every gig, may Our Dear Lord continue to bless you!

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Written by
Deacon Kurt Godfryd

REVEREND MR. KURT GODFRYD is editor of Catholic Journal and a permanent deacon of the Archdiocese of Detroit. Married and the father of five children, Deacon Kurt was ordained to the diaconate on October 4, 2008 by His Eminence Adam Cardinal Maida and is assigned to St. Clement of Rome parish in Romeo, Michigan. A native Detroiter, he was educated at the Jesuit-run University of Detroit Mercy, where he received a B.S. in finance, M.B.A., and M.A. in economics. His theological training was taken at Detroit's Sacred Heart Major Seminary, where he earned an M.A. in pastoral ministry.

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Written by Deacon Kurt Godfryd