In Rhythm with the Spirit


Orange clay,
distant drumming,
straw mats
and flowering trees. 

Africa.

The year 2000.  
I am 21.
 
A bright yellow re-purposed jug poured onto dusty hands, fingers rubbed free of grease from chapati and samosas and ten children holding ten fingers on the walk home from the road.
 
The water thuds twice inside the jug like the beats of a djembe drum.  A familiar song.  What song could it be? And then I smile.  It ruminates there the rest of the night when the lights go down to three naked bulbs in this village house where I have brought no music for six months.
 
Though I feel alone.  I am never alone.  You are with me.  You are with me.
 
Two notes yank me back in step with the rhythm of the Spirit of Jesus.  
 
Just as we are often unaware that we are breathing in and out, in and out and that our heart is beating at 70 beats per minute, keeping us in life, so, too, are we often ignorant of the Spirit pulsing all around us, pulsing IN us.  God has set us in rhythm in life.  He has given us rituals, routines, seasons, tides, reproductive cycles, prayers, festivals, feasts, six days of work and a command to Sabbath rest so that we may REMEMBER.  Music and dance only jump into the rhythm to whirl and twirl and draw attention to what God has done.
 
Watching children is the best way to fall back into rhythm.  Mothers sway in church pews even after putting babies in the nursery because they have been reconditioned.  On a playground, witness the pulse of children whirling, swaying, swinging, rocking, jumping, thumping, laughing, tap tap tapping out the rhythm of the jump rope skip song, slapping hands to Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack all dressed in Black Black Black, skipping, tripping and falling into a heap of rolling rolling children. 

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!"

We, too, call out Daddy and are freed to play in the pulsing rhythm of life.
 
For freedom Christ set free.

But it is freedom to love, not hate 
have joy, not bitterness
peace, not anxiety
patience, not immaturity
kindness, not selfishness
goodness, not evil
faithfulness, not doubt 
gentleness, not harshness
self control, not self gratification
 
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.  Staying in step with the Spirit leads the melody of our lives and makes even the dissonant notes harmonious, for there can be no melody without rhythm.

Marriage requires in-step-ness.  When spouses are out of sync, all other rhythms of life are awkward.  Mind, body and spirit must align to trace one another's steps, anticipate the next move and let go enough to melt into the freedom of the dance. 

For you were called to freedom, only do not use your freedom for the flesh, but in love SERVE one another.

Offering our minds to our spouse in conversation, our bodies to one another in love making and our souls in prayer together to the sacrificial God of love, keeps us synchronized in our marriage rhythms.

Rhythm for rhythm's sake can feel like monotony. Bored, we step without joy. A musician knows too well the effect their attitude has on their art and first assumes the mood of a piece:  allegrezza  (cheerfulness, joyfulness), amoroso (loving), anima (with feeling), calma (calm), energico (energetic, strong).   

We wash our minds daily with the words of Jesus as we would wash our hands or faces. We pray for allegrezza attitudes as we play the music we have been given. We prepare for a day of dancing His steps and giving in to His rhythms.  We allow ourselves to be ones who are led.

You may feel you have lost your rhythm. 
Be still.
Listen. 
Surrender. 

Tap, tap, tap your toe to the distant rhythm of the Spirit at work in you and in the world and soon you may find your whole body, soul and mind aching to step along.  It is for freedom that you have been set free. 



Scriptures: Galatians 4 & 5, paraphrased
Song: "Though I Feel Alone," Waterdeep



Are you in step with the Spirit today?  How is He at work all around you?

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