This is this week’s reflection from our parkology lent series (if you’re interested in following the whole series, you can find it over on the parkology blog).
For many years I was a member of a brass band. That’s my confession for today. BBA – Brass Band Anonymous.
Seriously, though, it was a real joy to grow in a household full of music. My Dad is a great pianist – I remember sitting, listening to him rehearsing. I still remember the feeling that overcomes you when you get consumed by playing a piece of beautiful music.
In fact, I remember one of my music teachers trying to get me to understand syncopated music by telling me to ‘feel the rhythm’. Rather than trying to play the exact musical notes in the shape they’re written on the music sheet, there’s something deeper going on that you’ve got to tune into. You’ve got to lose yourself to that shape…
‘feel the rhythm’…
Tobit challenged us yesterday to find our caves, where we find space to ‘be’ and reflect. Owain encouraged us last week to find head and heart space. There’s a theme developing here, isn’t there? Something about making time and space to experience what God might be trying to say to us.
What if we’ve focused too much on the ‘discipline’ of prayer, bible reading and other ‘devotional’ practices? Like somehow, if we just pray a little more, just read our bibles a bit more…then, well, then we’ll crack it, and everything will fall into place and we’ll be super holy. Then everything crashes, and we realise that no matter how hard we try, we never quite get there. We can’t get to enough church services or bible studies or prayer groups. We end up thinking that it’s no wonder that monks and nuns have to cut themselves off from the rest of society and distraction to be able to connect with God properly.
What happens, instead, when we try to tune into the God rhythm of life? That unseen beat that seems always to be playing behind everything – the rhythm of the universe. What if we were to embrace these head/heart spaces, find our caves, and simple ‘be’ – finding that God-beat, allowing it to pulse through us.
What if, building on this idea, we try to do this regularly throughout the day, just stopping, being, and seeing what happens?
Peterson interprets Jesus’ famous words in Matthew 11:28-30 like this:
“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.”
“unforced rhythm of grace”…
That sounds good, important, necessary if we’re going to survive in this ridiculously busy and complicated world.
So this is today’s challenge – how about establishing a rhythm in which we set aside time to connect with that God rhythm?
Join me in trying to set aside time at regular intervals where I try to stop and focus. Maybe not for ages at a time, but enough time to let the beat run through us.
How about the following routine?
This is a lot, I know, but I think I’m talking about 5 minutes or so in which we put God at the centre of our thoughts, and see what happens.
If you’re struggling for inspiration, why not try reading the words of Jesus I shared above?
My instinct is that this is something that needs a bit more than just one day of trying, so let’s see if we can keep this going until next Friday at the least.
It’d be great to hear what happens when we set aside this kind of space to tune into God’s rhythm. Why not get involved with the Facebook page and let us know how Lent is going for you?
p.s. if you do need something a little more structured why not try http://commonprayer.net/ – I thoroughly recommend it.