By Kelly Kelley
Special to The Leaven
Topeka — I first experienced Michael James Mette’s unique musical blend of passionate ballads and bold rock resonance during a week of Catholic Heart Work Camp programs in St. Louis. Not only was his music well- received, we all enjoyed the fact that Mette interacted with the campers — allowing us to know a bit about his personal walk with God.
When he contacted me to ask if Christ the King in Topeka would host him on his “40 Days of Praise Lenten Tour,” I expected Mette to easily connect with parishioners of all ages — including the students of Christ the King School. But when we gathered in the parish center on March 8 for a concert of music drawn from Mette’s second album, “Bring Forth the Light,” the unexpected joy was the light he brought forth from those in his company.
“I was truly inspired by the message he proclaimed through his gift of music,” said Christ the King principal Renee Reynoso. “The students were receiving a lifelong lesson while singing and dancing. This was an assembly they will all remember.”
As he introduced each of his original songs, Mette spoke of the Bible verses that inspired his words and described events in his life that had moved him from lessons to lyrics. So often we talk to our students about the gifts God has given them, but I don’t think that the message was ever as clear as when Mette described his efforts to remake himself into the basketball player he believed his classmates could have accepted. He went on to say that nothing gave him more joy, however, than eventually discarding that mask to follow God’s gifts through music ministry — being the person that God intended him to be.
Mette also discussed the power of words. Our words can lead us down a path without us realizing it, he said. He challenged us to think about those people in our daily lives who use their words to lift us up, then asked us to pray silently for those people who keep us on a positive path.
As we left, the energy was high and the students excited. This is the exact hope that I had for them — that they would celebrate their faith together in a way that was fitting to their ages, and they would know that their teacher had once been a kid in a Catholic school, just like them.
Mette stayed on for an evening concert, where he talked about his family and the adventure that lies just around the bend for them. Though he had understood that God intended for him to share the word through music, he has not been able to share that time with his wife Michelle and their five children as much as they all would like.
So whenever Mette is not on the road, the family works toward their goal of readying an Airstream trailer to be the family’s home on wheels. Come May, the Mettes may be rolling through your town — together.
Mette is inspiring Catholics of all ages to understand that, though God already knows his plan for each of us, he will not force it on us. It will take courage to accept God’s plan for our lives and go forward to bring forth the light.
To listen to music by this artist and learn more about his ministry, log on to his website at: http://michaeljames mette.com.