Rhythm is a vital part of who we are
Our very existence is based on rhythm.
There is the beat, beat, beat of the heart, absolutely necessary for our lives – when that stops, we die. There is our breathing, in out, in out. We continue it without even thinking about it – when it stops, we die. There is the rhythm of our taking in food and drink. When that stops, we die. Other animals also need that heartbeat, that breathing in out, in out. Plants, too, have their way of taking in light, giving off oxygen, the whole rhythm of photosynthesis. There is day and night. We now know through science that they come through the rhythm of a turning globe as that globe rhythmically circles another globe giving us seasons, and of course the sun itself goes through its periodic cycles of activities of sunspots, its own peculiar rhythm. And if any of these rhythms stop, we die.
A vital part of who and what we are is rhythm. God created us in rhythm. Genesis Chapter 1 shows that clearly. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. There’s even rhythm there, isn’t there?
In Hebrew this whole passage is poetry, and poetry is of course marked by rhythm. God’s Spirit is there sweeping over the waters, sweeping over the chaos, and God puts structure and from there, begins the rhythm of life. God said, let there be light and there was light, and God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness, and God called the light day and the darkness night, and there was evening and morning, the first day. Notice the pattern here, the rhythm. We begin with a command, God’s command – Let there be … and then there is the execution, and there was …, and then there is the assessment, and God saw that it was good. And finally, a description of time, there was evening and morning, and then the next day’s rhythm begins command, execution, assessment, and then the next day. Into this chaos God brings order, pattern, rhythm.
One thing about rhythm is that it creates beauty. That’s why music stirs us, there is a beat, a pattern, and we know that notes are just different rhythms in the air, and harmony or dissonance can come when notes are together.
One of the important bits of harmony in music is the triad, three notes making up a chord, and in the Trinity, we have that most perfect chord, most beautiful chord of all – our One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
We know from the next story, in creating mankind, in giving us free will, that can be abused, and was, and sin came into the world, bringing chaos back, disharmony, separation from God. We often feel that chaos, that hurt, that suffering, that sin has brought. We see that in the business of our lives, a lack of harmony between each other, a lack of harmony with our world, this world God has created.
Let’s use God’s rhythm. Have a regular time as a part of the rhythm of your life to have a time of prayer with God, a time of rest, a time of conversation with God. Judy Henderson Prather says, “Use breathing in your prayers. Imagine God breathing into you, breathing into you his rhythm, his pattern, breathe in light, breathe out darkness, breathe in peace, breathe out conflict, breathe in love, breathe out fear, breathe in wholeness, breathe out fragmentation, breathe in rest, breathe out weariness.”
Let’s allow God’s rhythm, God’s Spirit, to bring harmony back into our lives.
REV. DALE BROWN is the pastor of Cumberland and Guinea Presbyterian churches. His email address is email@example.com.