Wednesday 12 September 2012

Soul Music and Healing

This afternoon I went to the movies with my good friend, Mandy, to see 'The Sapphires'. I haven't been to the movies in quite a while and I certainly wasn't disappointed. It was such a wonderfully hopeful film with so many themes and issues raised. Towards the beginning, Dave, the manager of the group is trying to explain to the girls the difference between Country and Western and Soul music. He says.

"Soul music is about loss, but they haven't given up. So every note that passes through your lips should have the tone of a woman who's grasping and fighting, desperate to retrieve what's been taken from her."

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear what each of the four girls are desperate to retrieve in their life. The most powerful sub-story, for me, was Kay's. Taken from her people at a young age, she had lost her sense of belonging. Her struggle throughout the film is one of being accepted, forgiven and reconnected to her own people. A modern day prodigal child story, it was touching to watch the reunion and the grace that was shown by the family. 

The love and acceptance of the family were not enough, however. Kay was only fully reconnected after a smoking ceremony. I have had the privilege of being part of a couple of smoking ceremonies that commenced church events. My understanding of the ceremony is that it brings healing and purification to the people involved. So many people in our society are in need of healing. This is a gift that our indigenous brothers and sisters can offer to us. Often we see healing as something achieved by medication or therapy, but how can we be healed spiritually? Kay's healing in 'The Sapphires' was certainly a powerful testimony to the need for wholeness in our lives.

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