As an introvert, I suppose that it was natural that I chose the drums as my first musical instrument *way* back in grade school. On the one hand, drummers remain out of the spotlight, often far back in the shadowy, dark recesses of the stage. And yet, they wield an immense amount of power. If all goes well, they hold the various members of a band together. But they also have the power to almost singlehandedly ruin an otherwise great performance. Without accurate and timely rhythm, the other musicians don’t have anything by which to measure their tempo except their own “sense” of where they should be in the song, which often means that they play too quickly, or too slowly, and are thus thrown out of sync with each other, and the performance descends into chaos.
Rhythm is important. It keeps order, so that the intricacies of the whole song can be enjoyed, while not stealing the show in the process.
You can probably see where I’m going with this. The various rhythms and patterns we develop in our own lives, like drums in a song, help us to inhabit each moment in its proper time (cf. Ecclesiastes 3). As Christians and Anglicans, a sense of rhythm is found as we collectively move through the different seasons of the liturgical year, by which we’re drawn deeply into the story of God’s redemption of the world in Jesus Christ. This intentional, sacramental rhythm guides and orders our worship, keeping us from moving too quickly, too slowly, or skipping over any part of the story of our redemption, so that we can enjoy the beauty of the whole narrative together.
This plays out on a small scale, too. Anglican spirituality is ordered along daily rhythms of prayer that help keep us connected and alert to the movements of God in our lives amidst the concerns that arise each day.
Whether on a big or small scale, these rhythms guide and ground us so that we never lose track of the beautiful divine love story that we’re a part of, and allow us to enjoy each part unhurried, thereby drawing our contemplation and wonder to the greatness of God’s story as a whole.
As Summer now begins to fade into Autumn, and as the leaves which began as small buds (which reminded us of new life in the Spring) reach their full maturity in a brilliant display of color, I find myself reflecting on God’s goal for us: maturity and fullness. Salvation isn’t static. The Christian life is one that is meant to progress towards fullness of life, towards becoming more like Jesus, and thereby becoming the most “us” in the process. And amidst the inevitable reminder of the transience of life that comes as the leaves begin to fall, I find myself filled with a deeper longing and a deeper hope for the consummation of God’s redemption story, when life will be both full and eternal; when our lives reflect the beautiful colors of the fullness of life in Christ, but no longer fall to the ground; when the darkness of our mortality is eclipsed by the brilliance of God’s infinity.
As time continues to beat its drum, and Summer slowly hands over the reigns to Autumn, I encourage you to let the cycles and rhythms of our prayers, our worship, and even the beauty of the changing seasons speak to you on a personal level about God’s redemptive love. I pray that the God of the universe, the Author of seasons, blesses you richly with a deeper awareness of his love and a deeper longing for his kingdom.