Summer brings a delightful change of rhythms. As the school year comes to a close, parents and students alike long for a new rhythm that doesn’t necessitate getting up so early and focusing on homework, deadlines and schedules. Finally, the lazy days of summer have brought vacations and late nights and play time by the water. The rhythm has changed from the chant of a monastery full of monks to the melodic tune of a piper skipping through the meadows.
Nature has its own changing rhythms. I was laying in my hammock one evening this summer as the sun set. In the woods I watched the sunlight through the trees turn from bright golden piercing beams to an orange glow, to a pink smear, to a deep fading blue. A symphonic chorus of birds had been echoing in the treetops when, with the fading of the light, the stanza suddenly changed and gave way to crickets chirping metrically. The rhythm changed from a trilling melody to a lulling whir.
The rhythm of our lives often changes based on the seasons and circumstances around us. Our rhythms are constantly changing from morning to evening, through summer and winter, from youth to old age, through crisis and peace. We tend to adjust our tempo to our internal and external situations. But Romans gently warns us not to fall into being conformed to the pattern and rhythm of this world. That’s not the way to peace.
Did you know that there is a rhythm to God’s love? His invitation reads a bit like the words of a song:
“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.” Matt 11:28-29 MSG
The patterns and rhythms of this world are forced- obligation, duty, expectation, busyness, production, striving, achieving- and they bid us to change our rhythm to match them. But the pattern of God’s kingdom is an unforced rhythm of grace. The tempo of God’s love might change with seasons, events and circumstances, but, it does not conform to circumstances, events and seasons. It doesn’t change to fit them; it changes to penetrate and satiate circumstances, transforming them in the process. There is a rhythm to God’s love and our circumstances can be conformed by the rhythm of God’s love. The rhythm of His love always invites us into peace and abundance without force or coercion. It flows.
Sometimes the rhythm of His love is like the melody of a piccolo and sometimes like the dramatic beat of a bass drum, sometimes it is festive and lively and sometimes it is somber and strong. But the rhythm always echoes God’s voice and brings exactly what I need in the moment- lifting me out of the rhythm of my circumstance and into the rhythm and flow of His love and peace. There I find the capacity for all things.
- What is the rhythm of God’s love in your current circumstance?
- How do you need to adjust to let His rhythm lead?
- How can you better stay in tune with the unforced rhythm of God’s love?