Summary: While there are basic competancies that promote an emotionally healthy spirituality, there are also competancies that help us move outside of ourselves. Without getting outside of ourselves we will stunt our growth emotionally and spiritually.
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Whose Got Rhythm?
November 22, 2009
Who has rhythm? Rhythm is a part of life. It is literally in our hearts. In our last sermon of this series, I want to leave you with the encouragement to intentionally develop a spiritual rhythm in your life. This is where you sync up your daily rhythms with God’s.
Further out in the Midwest, farmers prepare for blizzards by tying a rope from the back door of their house to the barn. When a blizzard hits, farm life goes on. Cows at the least still need to be milked several times a day.
The blizzards come quickly and blow furiously. Literally a farmer could not see the end of his hand, let alone, the barn or the house. Many farmers froze to death as they wandered in circles lost in their own backyards within a few feet of their back doors.
Between the excessive busyness and the storms of life, we get disoriented and confused. We are addicted to doing. We need to rest but we have to cram yet one more activity into our schedule. Even Sundays get jam-packed. I’ve been a part of churches where you get up early for choir practice, Sunday school, go to worship, go out for dinner, go home to change your clothes and maybe cram in a couple of chores. But then it is off again to choir practice or youth group followed by yet another service and then off to Wendy’s to grab a quick meal (because who has time to cook) before coming home to crash exhausted before getting up for work.
American Christian spirituality is focused on a quiet time with church on Sundays and maybe a small group hoping this will enable the average follower of Jesus to withstand the blizzard of life swirling around us. But it doesn’t.
Within a couple of hours of our devotions, we forget God. We trust that God is there and have not forsaken God but God doesn’t have any of our attention. By lunch, we are grumpy and short with people. Oh sure, we might listen to WCTL on the way home to remind us again of God. But then at home, our spouse and kids are wondering where our Christianity is at.
Sometimes we just surrender and accept that this is just the way things are in this world that we live in. But it doesn’t have to be. It isn’t supposed to be. I want to share with you an important concept not as something more to do but as a framework for your life. It is sometimes called the Daily Office but I am calling the Rhythm of Life. The basis is found all throughout the history of Christianity and even Judaism. It is derived from Scripture in several places but I want to use Psalm 119:161-168 with special attention to what David said in verse 164.
161(IS)Princes persecute me without cause,
But my heart (IT)stands in awe of Your words.
162I (IU)rejoice at Your word,
As one who (IV)finds great spoil.
163I (IW)hate and despise falsehood,
But I (IX)love Your law.
164Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your (IY)righteous ordinances.
165Those who love Your law have (IZ)great peace,
And (JA)nothing causes them to stumble.
166I (JB)hope for Your salvation, O LORD,
And do Your commandments.
167My (JC)soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I (JD)love them exceedingly.
168I (JE)keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my (JF)ways are before You.
David said that seven times he prays. Seven times throughout the day, David stops to meet with God. His life is organized around these seven times. It gives him rhythm. This isn’t something to fit into your schedule. This is the framework to fit your schedule into.
Christians have been doing this for thousands of years and they got it from Hebrews. I’m not sure how much you know about Islam but one of the several things that have impressed me about those who are devout (not extremist) is that they also have a rhythm of life. They pray at designated times. This is something that most American Christians have forsaken and even shunned.
The Rhythms of Life
The important things about rhythm is that you must have starting and stopping. In drums, there is the moment when you hit the drum. It is often called the beat. Musicians learn to play on the beat and then off the beat. But no one plays continually and constantly. No one constantly makes sound. You have to breathe and stop. That is what creates rhythm. Stopping and starting.
Yet often our lives seem like one huge long note that drones on and on and on. Never stopping. Never ceasing. Never breathing.
Developing a rhythm in your spiritual life means organizing your life around times of stopping to remember God. What is important is not the length of time but that you regularly stop to refocus on God. It could be five minutes or forty minutes. It could be your break time. Monks have develop a regular schedule where they stop and remember and pray. For example, at 3:45 am there are what is called Vigils. Lauds is @ 6:00 am. Prime is 6:25 am or the “First” hour often being a worship service. Later the call to worship would sound at 12:15 pm and 2:00 pm. Then Vespers would occur at 5:40 pm and Compline at 7:40 pm which is before bed.