Quoting from a range of African American writers, poets and musicians, Chris Pramuk led the LCWR through his musings that music is a metaphor for our spiritual journey. Referring to Thomas Merton he noted that music makes us vulnerable to texts that can then more fully open us. He spoke of the power of the African spirituals to open us to one another with a fascinating juxtaposition of vulnerability and power. Words of spiritualities become as sacraments, instruments of real presence.
|Chris Pramuk shared powerful insights|
Chris spoke about the difference that keys make in declaring emotions in music. It is the minor keys that touch him the most. Those African spiritualities sung in minor keys are those that are much less sure of themselves. They speak of the grief of the past and the present and ask a question both hopeful and uncertain of the future. It is in that hope and uncertainty that resonates with our human experience and struggles.
|Piano has been a lifelong way for Chris|
to experience the Divine. He creatively
shared that gift with us
With words, Chris painted vibrant visual images and with music he engaged us in a creative way that allowed us to easily enter into the challenges that he was presenting. Quotes from Fredrick Douglas, DeBlois and Fumi Tosu challenged us to let go of our fear of death. Bono’s postmodern spiritual written for the mothers of the disappeared told the story of how the dead live among us and are real for us. These words and songs “can plunge us into the liminal space between life and death” he shared. He offered that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached himself through his fear of death in his last sermon before he was assassinated.
The large group then broke into smaller “deepening groups” to delve more deeply into what was said and what it offered to us.
Some of the learnings shared at the beginning of the afternoon session were:
- Songs in a minor key can vividly help us actively remember the past and kindle hope in an uncertain future, if we can let go of our fear
- The spirit speaks through everything and maybe especially in our experience of pain, loss
- Acknowledging the vulnerability of our own lives and those with whom we minister. That might be where our power may be
- Sense of communion which we share with the suffering and joy-filled world
- Expectation, movement- we may be called to action, what might the world be calling us to do?
- Real sense/passion to move forward in hope and with courage, the name of what has not yet been given but may emerge
- Fear, loss, and diminishment is real but there is a sense that there is energy and excitement for the next. The call is to live, to be a presence
- Spirituality of music- what songs are our congregations singing- what are the words of those songs, the words and the melodies can be transformative- if they are the words that resonate with our reality
- Dissonance in the music is the time that musicians are challenged the most to bring the best of their instrument forward.
For the rest of the afternoon, the LCWR will meet in closed session to make directional and structural decisions and to hear from the candidates for the President-Elect.