I’m not a dancer, but I am a musician. I believe that our Mental Health is closely linked to the rhythms we keep.
I have played guitar since I was thirteen and one of the little practice exercises I used to do in the early days was to play a piece of music either really slow or really fast, but it had to make sense.
As I progressed on in my learning I began to join with others.
I quickly learnt that if I was going to part of some ‘good music happening’ then I needed to learn the rhythm of not just the music, but the people as well.
When there was a sense of listening and drawing from each others creative talent then was a rhythm went beyond anything either one of us could have created by ourselves.
I live in a world of rhythm. You do too.
As a gardener I experience the expression of rhythm everyday. Seasons of change are happening all around me. I have no influence over them but they certainly have over me.
I can’t control the seasons but I, like a surfer on a wave, can learn to ride and feel their rhythm. .
As I write this it is winter time.
This season, this expression of rhythm, asks me questions. Will I be and do what is required for this season. Will I go out and prune those roses, sharp thorns at the ready. Will I plant those trees into the wet damp muddy soil.
Every rhythm asks us a question. Are we in sync or out of sync. Are we dancing to the rhythm of God or are demanding the rhythm dance to our tune, offbeat that it is.
One of my favourite pieces of art is The Angelus.
Here a peasant couple rests momentarily from the labour of the field to pray. A church spire is seen in the background. The bells would have rung out an invite to stop, pause, and pray. A rhythm of prayer.
You can find out more about The Angelus here.
I feel deeply privileged that I am able to spend much of my time working with God’s creation. OK, it’s not so much fun in the extremes of winter and summer, but for the most part knowing you are part of something much bigger than yourself and that you are working with chief gardener to create places of beauty, rest and provision is pretty awesome.
My doctor was pleased I was getting back into gardening. He was telling me that he had learnt many years ago of some North American Indian proverb about the healing power of working with soil.
You see I think for many people there is a disconnect with the rhythms of God. We are out of tune, have lost our timing, and are not in sync.
This of course creates multitudes of problems.
Rob Bell states this
‘The antidote to stress, depression, anxiety, despair is to be on then off, work play, inhale exhale, summer winter. Rhythm is built into creation and the problem with the modern world is that you can get tomatoes at 2am’ Rob Bell
Jesus wants us to learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30
C.S. Lewis put it well when he says this.
The most important difference between Christianity and all other religions: that in Christianity God is not a static thing—not even a person—but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you will not think me irreverent, a kind of dance. C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity
I am starting a series about rhythm.
I believe that there are 5 rhythms that we are invited to be in sync with.
I believe that when you can connect in with the rhythm of God you can find a new unforced way of living. This doesn’t just fall into your lap though. There has to be an intentionality to the listening.
Here is a challenge for you.
- What are the rhythms you are currently involved in?
Just stop for a moment and listen to your life, creation, and the patterns of daily/weekly life.
Do feel in sync with God?
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Read the other posts in this series