by the Rev. Charlie Dupree
What is rhythm? I first remember learning about this word in elementary school. It was hard to spell, so our teacher told us, “Just remember it this way: Robin Hood Yelled To His Men.” How helpful!
I started piano lessons and “rhythm” became something different. It had to do with the way a song moved along – a steady beat.
Soon came poetry. Again, rhythm took on yet a different layer of meaning: Listen my children, and you shall hear / of the midnight ride of Paul Revere.
The word “rhythm” comes from a Latin word having to do with “movement in time.” Or, from the Greek, rhythmos “measured flow or movement, rhythm; proportion, symmetry; arrangement, order; form, shape, wise, manner; soul, disposition,”
Now that we have a sense of what a rhythm is, I think a more important question to ask is, “What do rhythms do?” Anyone who has had an irregular heartbeat can attest that rhythms are important. They create order. I bet that you have rhythms. In the morning, perhaps . . . coffee, the newspaper, Wordle, another cup of coffee, shower, dress (or not!).
There may be rhythms in your relationships with friends and partners. And, of course, there are spiritual rhythms of prayer and worship – of noticing and connecting – of being thankful and of saying, “I’m sorry.” Rhythms provide a sense of symmetry to our lives, providing the rails on which we move through moments, days, and seasons.
I write this Weekly Chapel on the Summer Solstice – June 21. It is the longest day of the year. While I don’t understand the mechanics of earth’s tilt and rotation, the Solstice marks a midpoint in the year. When I come to the solstice, I think “Jeesh! We’re already halfway through!”
Today is a good day to reflect. What are the rhythms of your life? What speeds you up? What slows you down? What establishes the tempo of mind, body, spirit? What gives form and shape to the ways in which you move through what Mary Oliver calls your “one, wild and precious life?”
From one of our hymns:
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to thee . . .
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
See you in church,