Try to live with the rhythm

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I let myself be carried away by the melodies of life. The rhythm often escapes me. In other words, I lose track of timing. Life is experienced as a long series of repeating notes. But the rhythm is hard to find. Oddly enough, I thought being a clergyman would help me find an appropriate rhythm in my life. But that doesn’t happen often. It’s like someone claps at the wrong time and isn’t consistent either. I am easily knocked down. Some people claim that they “just work, eat and sleep”. There are times when I wish I could have “only”. Someone may ask, “Wouldn’t you be bored?” I answer: “I don’t know. Let’s try.” But I know that won’t happen. So the boredom test won’t be taken.

Rhythm and retreat

What happens when a person’s heart starts beating against the current? There is an attempt to “shock” in the rhythm. Spiritually speaking, many of us feel like our hearts are shocked at not keeping up with the right rhythm. Spiritual retreats are offered as a way to end the constant stimulation. These are beautiful respites. But we return to the everyday world. Some people consider spiritual retreats a “real church” because they find the break that the churches they attend every week do not offer. Why is it?

Church is not a priority for most people. Popular entertainment often makes devout people wicked or mad. Admittedly, this trope is very dramatic. But it also illustrates how strange it seems in our culture to find someone who decides to be different. They are outside the mainstream of the middle class. People don’t understand why a person seeks to live like someone who seeks something other than what society says they should want. The question the rest of society might ask is why should they choose this path? But the question I hear being asked is, “Aren’t you afraid to get picked up?”

The fear of boredom

Modern people are afraid of being bored. Avoiding this temporary state of being requires either stimulation or medication. Constant stimulation is the desire of many people. Entertainment is the solution many people use to avoid the “work, eat, sleep” cycle. I find it hard to eat alone without reading something or watching something on a big screen TV in a restaurant. Some people talk about “mindful eating,” whereas I try to mindlessly consume food. Self-medication is another tool to avoid boredom. Again, we are trying to keep the mind from being engaged in the present moment. A popular meme maintains that we are often bored and not hungry. Eating is then a way of keeping busy.

Church is not a priority for many people because of this fear. Someone may answer, “There are a lot of other things going on. Yes. There are sporting events and a few other activities for people to otherwise occupy themselves with. Churches try to be more entertaining for this purpose. “Our church isn’t the same boring thing.” We are tempted to leave aside prayer, meditation times during the sacraments and to ensure that we are seen as alive and not boring.

rhythm and noise

Living in melody alone is noisy with nothing to hold the song together. The introduction of rhythm is useful to reduce noise. Many children in our church love rhythms. They don’t necessarily realize it. A high school student is constantly dribbling his basketball. It is the rhythm by which he walks, speaks and thinks. A toddler will begin to match their steps to the beat of the music during rehearsals. It’s not the sound in their ears. It is the reverberation in their body that directs their movements.

I seek this quality. But I don’t find it in what I do or what happens around me. Recently, I try to find the rhythms of the psalter as I read. I can easily read the words. But I seek to hear the music in the words. The words of the prophets are easier if I stop and look for the rhythm of the words rather than just the “ordinary meaning.” Doing this forces me to stop the noise in my head. What point should I emphasize here? What is the underlying topic or theme? And what is the meaning of this word in the original? These questions are as much part of the general noise around me as I disdain them. And yet, I am trained to ask them at the beginning of my reading.

worship cycles

Worship cycles should give us a rhythm of prayer. But we draw from it a cycle of preparation and execution of the programming. We’re not supposed to do that as a church. Let’s exchange these cycles for rhythms.


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