Music, Ministry and Spirit chaplaincy
Music, Ministry & Spirit
Video by Rev. William Sewall & Rev. Jan Thomas
“Music seems to be
the bridge over the gulf
between form and the formless.” —Hazrat Inayat Khan
Jan’s Note: Recently I facilitated a Sacred Song Circle with folks from the ChI community, which ChI alum Rev. Bill Sewall filmed. Afterwards he asked me to do a follow-up interview. From there we ended up collaborating to make Music, Ministry, and Spirit,a video about bedside singing and ministry.
“Every song that a human sings with his or her voice
is only an expression of that one Great Song
that is there from the beginning
and will be there after the end.” —Brother David Steindl-Rast
Singing can be a powerful way to make contact with someone who is nearing the end of life when other paths for connecting have eroded. Preparing to sing at the bedside happens on two tracks. The musical part involves selecting from a repertoire of bedside-friendly songs, then practicing singing these softly, either as a single singer or in small groups of two to three. The other part is about sorting out our own feelings and issues about death, so that when we are at a bedside we can be fully present without being uncentered and reeling with emotions.
“Our light is a voice;
with our song we make a road,
a road for the spirit to cross over.” —A Passamaqoddy song