Musical Magic and Ministers - September 2021
By Rev. Lindsay Babich
Personalizing an Ordination with Music
ADL Mentors are keenly aware that every Mentee who qualifies through their ADL studies to be Ordained and receive their own Charter and Chapel is unique. Anyone who knows our Alliance of Divine Love culture understands that we are not a “cookie-cutter” church.
Our primary tenet of “Love is All There Is” is an open ingredients list for recipes to bake, sauté, stir-fry and juice new ministries of infinitely diverse manifestation. As I write this, I have an image of open arms embracing the delicious differences that make up our ministry and a VERY BIG TABLE. All are invited.
One way a Mentor honors a ‘graduating’ Mentee is by personalizing the Ordination Ceremony. Ceremony is the physical recognition of the mentee’s evolution (not in a hierarchical sense) and of their commitment to completing the process and to themselves. By the time the Ordination rolls around the Mentor and Mentee generally know each other pretty well. ADL’s lessons are also not cookie-cutter. No simple multiple-choice tests. They are rather an exploration of Self in the Universe (Note the capital S) perceived from spiritual and metaphysical views. It is also a practical tutorial on how to apply the philosophy and practice in the world. I always stress to my Mentees that there are no right or wrong answers. This leaves impressive open space for them to generate their own “Aha” moments over the course of study. Who doesn’t love a good AHA!?
Back to the Ritual – the Ceremony…the way I approach each ordination is to ask the mentee if they have a favorite song they would like for me to play. Music is so personal. The vibrations of the instruments, the voices, the lyrics all trigger neurological reactions. They are intimately connected to our dreams, our emotions, to experiences past and present. Music during ceremony can evoke tears, laughter and profound heart openings. In ritual communion, music joins us energetically and connects us on a frequency level that words alone cannot.
I have yet to find a minister-to-be who doesn’t know a song they want to incorporate into their ordination. It is a powerful way to personalize and ultimately internalize the deep meaning of the event.
Some of the requests are fun and light; some are more somber with powerful personal meaning. As an ADL minister for 17+ years, I’ve assisted in the production of many ADL conferences and events. The music is always a joy to work on. We all have our faves and John Lennon’s catalogue generally pleases most with Let It Be, Imagine, and All You Need is Love. Symbolically, The Rose by Bette Midler, is a perfect opening to our Oath.
One minister chose Cat Stevens’ “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out.” It affirmed her desire to speak her truth out loud. Many love the song Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. The chorus is nothing short of Divine. As an old hippie, I am very familiar with the profane nature of the song. This source is gratefully lost on most and I continue to love and enjoy this rich prayer of love. Leonard Cohen is a perfect model for spiritual evolution over his years from sex, drugs, and rock and roll to the monastery.
The choices for music seem infinite with digital access. When I am sculpting the Ordination experience for a Mentee, I love to make it personal and throw in a few surprises. The music I choose adds layers and textures to the words I speak to tell them how I experience their divine being. The marriage of our musical choices enriches our relationship and builds new dimensions for continued growth and exchange.
Not all sound choices are lyrical songs and I will often include Jonathan Goldman’s Chakra Suites, Tibetan bowls or chanting. Don’t forget to include our musical friends of ADL: Richard Schulman, Spiritsong Mary O’Shannon, Shawn Gallaway, et al. If you are able to book one of our musician ministers, Tina Story Livingston, Ed Carrasquillo, Bob Sima and Shannon Plummer, Anna White Hodges, et al, don’t hesitate. Are you an ADL minister musician? Add your name please.
I have a list of music that always feels right as you may. Mentors, please share here what songs you include in your ordinations. Mentees, what song would you find perfect for your upcoming ordination? Also, ministers, please share how music shaped your unique ordination experience.
Now excuse me while I go listen to two of my favorite songs, Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (IZ) and HAPPY by Pharrell Williams. “Cuz, I’m happy!”
🎶 Rev. Lindsay Babich 💜