Music’s Role in Facilitating the Process of Healing—A Thematic Analysis
2. The Historical Context of Korean Immigrants in Australia
3. The Catholic Charismatic Prayer Meeting (CPM)
- Preparation and Beginning of the CPM:People prepare flowers, candles, a picture of Jesus Christ, and a statue of Mary on the altar in front of the group. The music minister plays keyboard, guitar, and sings several songs for people to join as they arrive and sit on chairs placed in a semi-circle in front of the altar. When the congregation is ready, the music minister starts the meeting with the beginning song called “The Sign of Cross”3 (The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul 2003, p. 142), which involves hand gestures that make a cross sign as the lyrics indicate.
- Daily Reading and Rosary Prayers:A Bible scripture of the day is proclaimed by the worship leader, which participants contemplate during the meeting. Then, the rosary prayers are delivered, and the calling of the Holy Spirit is undertaken by singing the song, “Come, Holy Spirits”4 (The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul 2003, p. 504).
- Praise and Worship:Everyone voluntarily thanks, praises, and worships God for gifts such as good weather, nature, and people etc. As each person offers their thanks, the others support them with the response lines, “Lord, receive our praise and worship”, this sequence repeating many times until the worship leader feels enough prayers have been offered. Then, the congregation is encouraged to choose several songs from a book specifically published for CPM in Korean (The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul 2003)5. Sometimes, when the song contains lyrics related to bodily actions such as raising hands and clapping, people undertake the action while singing. In the early days of this group, the participants danced around the room as well, but over time, people stopped dancing and remained seated in their chairs. At times, people discuss the meaning of words or lyrics of songs after singing.
- Facilitated Speaking in Tongues Prayers:Lights in the room are turned off (candles remain lit), and a particular song that requests the Holy Spirit to be with the group is sung. Its verses can be repeated as many as needed until the music leader breaks into Singing in Tongues with loud and dynamic keyboard accompaniments. Everyone then starts their own Speaking in Tongues prayers with an intention to speak to God through the presence of the Holy Spirit. After reaching several musical climaxes, the sounds of Speaking in Tongues begin to subdue, and the music leader then gradually reduces the volume and tempo of the music. The music eventually ends with a silence.
- Interpretation of the Tongues:After several minutes of silence, the worship leader asks, “Lord, we are waiting, please speak to us,” and the group explains the messages they received from the God during their Speaking in Tongues prayer.
- Praise and Worship:People voluntarily pray for anything they need or want in their life and sing several songs of their choice.
- Ending of the CPM:People voluntarily share their religious experiences over the week, then, gather and hold hands and sing “The Lord’s Prayer”6 (The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seoul 2003, p. 175) before ending the meeting.
4.1. Study Design and Method of Data Collection
4.3. Procedure of Data Collection and Analysis
- What has been your experience in CPM?
- What motivates you to continue CPM?
- How would you describe the role of music in CPM?
- How has this experience in CPM affected you in general? (Across your mental, physical, and social experiences?)
- Step 1. Identifying key statements;
- Step 2. Searching for themes;
- Step 3. Reviewing themes.
- Beauty of music and singing;
- Improvement of general physical and psychological wellbeing;
- In-depth experience of the Holy Spirit through group singing;
- Relief of psychological stress;
- Great anticipation to the weekly meetings;
- Strong and binding spiritual power as a group.
5.1. Motivating Factor 1. Experiencing Strong Spiritual Power as a Group
Angela used a metaphor of “a rich flavored red wine” to describe the intensity of her spiritual experiences of singing prayers as a group. As the most religious person in the group, she was able to meet the Holy Spirit through her daily prayers. However, she certainly felt the difference in meeting the Holy Spirit through the group music making in CPM, which was much more intense and rich. Similarly, Bernadette elaborated more on the power of the group music making:In my everyday life, I feel the presence of the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which I can perhaps consider as a liquid. When I meet the Holy Spirit in CPM, it feels like drinking a rich flavored red wine as people gather and intensively sing prayers together. For it is given to me for free, I think, “Why not?” That’s the reason I come to the meetings. I cannot imagine myself not coming back.
Her belief in God’s presence in a group of people follows the Bible: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). By reflecting on the sensation of the presence of the Holy Spirit, Bernadette strongly believed that she can only meet the Holy Spirit in a group setting, especially when they perform Speaking/Singing in Tongues. Once she had raised this topic, the group started to share how the group singing made them focus on the contents of the songs and thus quickly enabled them to involve themselves at a much deeper level of communion:When we are together, when we are singing all together, and when we are performing “Speaking in Tongues,” the Holy Spirit touches each one of us and tells me to feel Him. I can meet Him only here because He said that He will come when there are more than two people. Although God hears me when I pray alone, I think it is much more powerful when many people pray all together.(Bernadette)
When we move our bodies together and sing with all our hearts, we can totally focus.(Angela)
We become so immersed into the song as a group.(Peter)
5.2. Motivating Factor 2. Improvement of General Physical and Psychological Wellbeing
As the worship leader, Peter started the prayer group at its inception in 2011. At the time, as a result of harsh physical laboring work, he was not physically well. He experienced diabetes and rapid weight loss. He was also suffered from immense physical pain in his shoulder that required surgery. However, over the past five years, his physical health became more manageable, and he believed that his physical healing process was facilitated by CPM. He described this healing process as a “spiritual shower.” For him, spiritual wellness helped his physical wellbeing, literally removing the “dust and dirt” from his body, which is perhaps a reference to the hard labor he was doing at the time. The role of singing in Praise and Worship was clearly perceived as an effective medium to access to a spiritual experience.When we sing, we are de-stressed for sure. In fact, I have gained physical health, which helps me to gain spiritual health as well. The spiritual betterment leads me to come back to the meeting every week. When I come to CPM, I feel like I’m having a spiritual shower given by the Holy Spirit to clean the dust and dirt on my body. When I am spiritually awakened, I realize how much I am happy and actually I am. So, I keep thinking of that happiness, and I become positive all the time, and then everything gets better so then I keep coming back to the meetings. For me, singing is the fastest way to go up to the spiritually powerful status. My mind is positively moved and the spiritual healing fosters physical healing.(Peter)
John immigrated to Australia in his late 50s, so learning a new language and culture was stressful and challenging for him. He was working in a large restaurant as a kitchen hand, and the working environment seemed intense and chaotic to him. As people use the Korean language in the meeting, speaking and singing in his mother tongue seemed to provide him a relaxing time. Because of this benefit, he has always hoped for other Korean immigrants to join in CPM.There is a saying that singing the prayers is three times more powerful than just praying.11 When I sing, I can feel that power. As an immigrant, I feel stressed by the foreign language and busy routines at work. But when I come here and sing with keyboard and guitar accompaniments, I feel relieved from the stress. Although I know that praising God is the priority in this meeting, I really like that we can have a relief from our stresses and start another week fresh again.(John)
In CPM, I reflect on my week. It is a good time to catch up with prayers, looking at my inner thoughts and feelings by contemplating on the lyrics of the songs, and speaking with God.(Regina)
7. Final Reflection
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It is a seminar that introduces Catholics a new way of praising and worshiping God, music occupying a central role.
The nine spiritual gifts include (1) expression of wisdom, (2) expression of knowledge, (3) faith, (4) gifts of healing, (5) mighty deeds (miracles), (6) prophecy, (7) discernment of spirits, (8) varieties of tongues, and (9) interpretation of tongues (1 Cor. 12:7–11 New American Bible with Revised New Testament 1986/1970).
Lyrics in English: In the name of the father, and of the son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In the name of the father, of the son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. We are here to give thanks, praise, and worship to you, Lord. We are here to give thanks, praise, and worship to you, Lord.
Lyrics in English: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
For Korean Readers who might want to inspect the book, the name of the book in Korean is “기도 공동체 성가.”
Lyrics in English: Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
This is an adapted version of Paloutzian and Ellison (1982) scale, which consisted of two aspects of spiritual functioning: religious wellbeing and existential wellbeing. Ten subscales of religious wellbeing measure perceptions of one’s spiritual life, while another ten subscales of existential wellbeing measure meaning in life and the nature of one’s existence (Tshabalala and Patel 2010, p. 75).
The term “transpersonal” is defined as “denoting or relating to states or areas of consciousness beyond the limits of personal identity” in the Oxford Dictionary of English.
These are participants’ Christian names, protecting their Korean names.
(1) Familiarizing yourself with your data, (2) generating initial codes, (3) searching for themes, (4) reviewing themes, (5) defining and naming themes, and (6) producing the report (Braun and Clarke 2006, p. 87).
It is generally believed that St. Augustine of Hippo said, “He who sings, prays twice.”
|Name of Participant9||Age||Gender||Years of Attendance|
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Lee, J.; Davidson, J.W. Music’s Role in Facilitating the Process of Healing—A Thematic Analysis. Religions 2017, 8, 184. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8090184
Lee J, Davidson JW. Music’s Role in Facilitating the Process of Healing—A Thematic Analysis. Religions. 2017; 8(9):184. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8090184Chicago/Turabian Style
Lee, Juyoung, and Jane W. Davidson. 2017. "Music’s Role in Facilitating the Process of Healing—A Thematic Analysis" Religions 8, no. 9: 184. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8090184