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Rhythms of Love

Rhythms of Love

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Published by Doug Floyd
I've been resting in the rhythms of the Psalms again. Every time I spend time in songs of God's people, I am moved, provoked, called out and embraced. Here are a few thoughts that danced out from Psalm 1.
I've been resting in the rhythms of the Psalms again. Every time I spend time in songs of God's people, I am moved, provoked, called out and embraced. Here are a few thoughts that danced out from Psalm 1.

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Published by: Doug Floyd on Aug 06, 2010
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10/25/2012

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Rhythms of Loveby Doug FloydI'm sitting in a coffee shop, reading, thinking, sitting. Music is playing in the background."Celebrate Good Times" begins to play. And suddenly the celebration breaks into myworld, my reading, thinking, sitting. My head starts nodding. Soon my shoulders join in.The sounds that were outside me seem to be reverberating from inside me, and mybody is moving to the rhythm. Looking around I notice other people responding, moving,smiling. We exchange glances. In a room of strangers, the rhythm visibly connects usfor few brief moments.I've had experiences like this in stores, parks, churches and living rooms. The rhythmbreaks in upon us and suddenly the room, the people are connected and moving to anunseen current. Music fascinates me, moves me, breaks in upon me. It comes fromoutside me through a speaker, a guitar, a drum, a singer. But soon it is inside me at thesame time. My body, my mind, my emotions all respond, all echo back the rhythm.Somehow I'm connected, caught up in the rhythm.And oddly, it lingers inside long after the music has stopped playing. The sounds, thewords, the feel continues to resound within me. Though I speak about myself, I believeI'm describing an experience that is real for most of us. One moment we're sitting aloneand the next moment we're caught up in an ocean of sounds that moves us, fills us,connects us.
   P    h   o   t   o    b   y   F    i    l    h    i    b   a    h   t    h    i   p    h   o   t   o   g   r   a   p    h   y   v    i   a   C   r   e   a   t    i   v   e   C   o   m   m   o   n   s
 
Not all songs move us in the same ways. Hearing different songs can stir differentfeelings and different thoughts. For some strange reason, I used to force myself to listento all sorts of music as some kind of imagined training. In college, I'd sit in the musiclounge for hours soaking in all sorts of sounds. I'd join Columbia House Music Clubagain and again and again. I also joined the "Classical Heritage Society" and the "JazzHeritage Society." I'd listen to music I loved and oddly enough music I hated.I remember picking up John Coltrane's "Sun Ship" as yet another attempt at my musicaleducation. I never figured it out. There were a few shining moments, but most of thetime, I was immersed in chaos. I couldn't hear one dominant rhythm. Instead, I feltcaught up in a swirl of chaos. The music was disorienting.It made me think of being caught up in the currents of a raucous ocean. Once my dadand I decided to "catch some big waves" by swimming at Myrtle Beach in the middle of an electrical storm. My mom was screaming and pacing up and down the shore whilemy dad and I were laughing and waving. It was fun but also disorienting. The currentsabove and below the surface pulled, pushed and turned us all around. When we finallydecided to get out of the water, we had a hard time. The undercurrent resisted our everystep.I can only imagine the stress, confusion and disorientation of being caught in a storm atsea. With no land in sight, with no instruments of orientation, it's easy to see how onecould be truly lost of sea. I understand that pilots can experience a similar disorientationin the air. Without reference to his instruments, a pilot may literally not know which wayis up. It is now believed that John F. Kennedy Jr.'s lethal crash into the sea in 1999 wasa result of spatial disorientation. He thought he was flying up and flew straight into thewater.The currents of air and water and sound waves can propel us forward but also disorientus. We could be going forward; we could be going backward. We may lose our sense of direction.We are immersed in a world of currents and rhythms. From the beating of our own heartto the fury of storm winds to the pounding of rain, we live in all kinds of rhythms andforces that impact us both inwardly and outwardly. There are also rhythms or currents of ideas, emotions, memories, and symbols that move through culture. The force of theserhythms are just as powerful as the physical force of ocean currents that move aboveand below the surface.We cannot step outside of the rhythms of our world. We are all born at a time and place.We born immersed in families and towns and eras with specific rhythms and strugglesand currents. If I am born into a world where slavery is the norm, it will be very difficultfor me to resist or act or think outside this force. If I am born into a land at war, I mayhave no memory of peace and find it difficult to even understand peace. If I am born into
 
a family where divorce is the norm, I may repeat the pattern in my own life or never even marry.Like the watery chaos of Psalm 46, all of us know the chaos of a world of conflictingideas and emotions, of undercurrents that impact our dreams and our actions. Themusic of Scripture breaks into this world of competing currents with a strange alienrhythm. Sometimes when people first read the Bible, it might seem a bit disorienting. Itshould be. In fact, if it's never disorienting we may not be paying close enough attention.The Word of the Lord breaks into our world as a challenge to the false rhythms of idolatry and oppression that reverberate on our planet.In ancient Egypt, we discover the Hebrews trapped in a world of enslavement,oppression, and manipulation. The Word of the Lord breaks into this world as an alienrhythm, challenging the power structures and the whole conception of reality. After leading these nameless, powerless slaves into freedom, the LORD calls these people,His people and He gives them His rhythms that are rooted in love to God and love toman.In Psalm 1, we hear a song inviting us to meditate or groan aloud these rhythms of loveand worship and respect and honor. These rhythms directly challenge the constantrhythms in the counsel of the wicked, the way of sinners, the seat of scoffers. The worldof the wicked, sinners and scoffers is built in resistance to the love of God and is rootedin self-preservation. It always leads to oppression and devastation. As the Psalmistsings, he reminds us that currents of the wicked produce a crop of chaff, of nothingness.Like the disappearing world in "The Neverending Story," the Psalmist realizes the endresult of wickedness. Not some kind of naughty pleasure, but rather to destruction of allrelationships, of all meaning, of all hope, of all beauty. The end result is absurdnothingness that blows away in the wind. There is only one sound powerful enough towithstand the gale force of oppression and emptiness: it is Torah, the Law of the Lord.The Psalmist proclaims that those who dwell, live, abide in this Law of Love will bear fruit in all seasons.Yet even as I'm caught up the wondrous promise of the Psalmist, I am aware of my ownduplicity. There are times when I speak words of love and life and encouragement.There are times when the rhythms of love seem to resonate in my every fibre. And yet, Iknow the fruit of selfishness. I hear James speaking directly to me when he cries out,"From the same mouth come blessing and cursing." I am not the man who lives in Torahday and night. I am the man who aspires to live in Torah but knows the way of hatredand anger and mockery all too well.Isaiah says that the Lord looks for one true man, but found no one.The Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. He saw that therewas no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede;then his own arm brought him salvation,

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