pastoral/spiritual care

Chorus of Teamwork

“Unity is strength.  When there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.”  -- Mattie Stepanek

A few years ago, I had the chance to be part of a community choir performing Mozart’s Requiem.  We practiced for months to get the complex musical piece just right.  It is a very exciting work, with a great deal going on all at the same time musically.  We often got confused, trying to sing the right notes and the right Latin words when people just a few feet away were singing something quite different.  I remember how strange, even silly, it sounded when only the altos or the tenors or any other single group of us would practice our part alone, or when the director would have us all sing the same part.  It was so obviously meant to be part of a greater whole that it sounded incomplete and ridiculous by itself.  Even when two or three of the parts were singing, it sounded every bit as wrong.  There were holes.  Anyone, whether or not familiar with the Requiem, would know that something important was missing.

If you have never experienced the haunting beauty of Mozart’s masterpiece for yourself, I invite you to do this one day after a tough shift:  Listen to the Requiem and try to focus on any one voice part alone.  You may choose, for example, to pay special attention to the soprano part, in all its beauty and distinctiveness.  At times, the soprano voices fade into the background, supporting the other parts in a way that is less noticeable, but would be very noticeable if it were absent.  At other times, the sopranos take center stage, and their soaring notes are, at least for a moment, inarguably the most important of all.  The same could be said of the altos, or tenors, or basses, or the instrumentalists.  All the parts are necessary, all are incomplete alone, and all are woven together as if by magic into a beautiful whole that would seem impossible if you only saw any one of the parts by itself. 

Recently, I was called to the room of a family whose child was dying.  I spent several hours with this family, and was part of a large team working to care for them.  The nurses, the doctor, the interpreter, the hospital supervisor, the respiratory therapist, the chaplain, and others each had a unique and important part to play.  If any one of us had been absent, the family would not have received the same level of care.  There would have been notes missing in the symphony God has put us here to sing.  But together, we made beautiful music.

God, you are such a creative Creator.  You are the “magic” that holds us all together and blends our individual voices into a wonderful chorus. Thank you for the special gifts you have given each one of us, different from any other.  Help us not to compare ourselves to those around us or try to be what we are not.  Instead, teach us to appreciate the unique talents we possess and to use them in service to you and those around us.  Amen.

-- Chaplain Stacy N. Sergent


© Medical University of South Carolina | 171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425