Here is the fourth of our collages and transcripts: the theme of ‘Rhythm’ has been taken from the group’s discussion.

What we have here represents what for some of us felt that maybe we were in difficult places or and coming here by invitation of someone else or something else gave us a feeling of coming home, of a sense of belonging and of being, and belonging to something much much larger than ourselves and bringing a rhythm back to our lives which we may have felt at some point that we’d lost or never had. And so that’s become an ongoing experience for us of stepping on and stepping off, coming and experiencing this amazing feeling of being loved and held and belonging. And then being able to step off again and go back into our lives, strengthened, and then coming back again and stepping back on and stepping off, so there’s a rhythm to our lives that perhaps we hadn’t ever experienced before.

Meditations and Activities

Rhythms of Rest – Guided Christian Meditation

Here is a meditation focussing on ‘Rhythms of Rest’, created by Chris Tweitmann. Watch the video.

It is spoken by Chris Tweitmann, and the transcript and images can be found here. The Transcript is also included below.

The website itself has other readings – click here.

Transcript of ‘Rhythms of Rest’

“Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30

“We live in a day and age when the advance of technology enables many people to work anytime and anywhere. There are many benefits to doing our jobs remotely, such as no longer being forced to commute to an office and no longer being confined to a desk, cubicle, or job site. But these benefits come with a cost. Already prone to bring our work home with us, one of these costs is that the distinction between work and leisure time tends to blur.

Without these once clearly defined boundaries, it can be easy—sometimes even expected—to keep working until we have no functional choice but to take a break. Onward and upward becomes the mantra until our bodies tell us otherwise and force us to slow down. Though we may speak of working smarter and not harder, we don’t necessarily view regular resting to be a wise move. Pausing or stopping our work is not something we cannot afford to do. Rest is perceived as a reward, something we can indulge in once we’ve earned some time off.

Rest, however, is not something we have to earn. From the very beginning of creation, rest is a gift given to us by our Creator. Throughout the establishment and order of all life, God declares each phase of the divine building project as “good” and, ultimately, “very good.” However, the last leg in bringing all life into being is proclaimed to be more than good; it is distinctively labelled as “holy”—sacred above all others. This final work by God is the carving out of a day—an intentional, designated, repeated space in the fabric of time for all life to rest.

But the seventh measure of the divine masterpiece of creation—the full stop inscribed into the final stanza of God’s magnum opus—orchestrates more than a single day of rest in a week. One beat of respite for every six measures of labour establishes a regular rhythm of pause and refreshment to be received and practiced moment to moment as we live and breathe. This impulse, not only to take a break but to recess in order to be renewed, is hardwired into the circadian cycle that syncs the internal clock of our bodies with the transitions between day and night.

Our Creator is the first to enter this cadence of ceasing to do in order to be. But the One who holds all things—all life and creation together—does not rest out of any sense of need—of tiredness or depletion. God’s repose is for our benefit—to underscore our need for recreation and revival. In this symbolic act, our Creator models for us what entering into this divinely established rhythm of rest ought to be like as God stops to soak up and relish the goodness of all that has been made. Likewise, our rest is about pausing to savour and delight in the good things in life—the blessings that perpetually flow from God’s hand.

Our tendency is to believe we must work until we need to rest. But humanity has been designed to rest first and then to work—to work out of our rest—the rest God provides for us. The start of humanity’s journey comes at the end of our Creator’s work. Our industry derives not from anything we devise on our own but rather from abiding—taking stock and giving thanks for what we have been given to work with—for all that the Lord provides.

If we try to invert this, we labour in vain. We end up making a god out of work rather than enjoying the work of God. And when work becomes our god, we never find the time or the space to rest. We become enslaved by our drive to define who we are, our success, and our legacy through our careers. Addicted to our work, as we become the job, we never experience the fruit of our labour because there always is something more to do. All our effort to make a living instead of living the life our Creator offers to us leaves us exhausted and restless.

It is into this vicious cycle of diminishing returns and gnawing dissatisfaction that God comes down in person and invites us to cease all our labouring in vain and come home. Jesus enters into the tyranny of our urgency—our predisposition to work ourselves to the bone—and empowers us to live to the beat of a different drum. Instead of chasing a life where we work in order to rest and only find lasting peace when we die, Jesus calls us to follow him in learning how to a life where our work comes out of our rest, where our work becomes less of a chore and more of an opportunity to play—to explore, to create, to build something everlasting.”

Chris Tweitmann

Rethinking Rhythm

Christine Sine wrote the following reflection on her website, God Space Light. It looks at the bigger picture of rhythm across the year. The gardeners amongst us will appreciate this broader sense.

“Have you noticed that the rhythm of our days and of our seasons doesn’t always flow in the way we expect it to? It’s a little like trying to create a topiary in a garden without any knowledge of how to do it. I intended to spend the summer working on getting my podcast up and running. I thought I had someone lined up to help and I expected to launch it in September. Every door I tried to open seemed to close. Now, as summer draws to a close I look back and say – that was not the rhythm God intended for my summer. It was meant to be a season for reconnecting to friends and companions and for deepening my connection to the garden and God’s amazing world. It was meant to be a season to breathe in a new aspect of God’s eternal breath, allow it to penetrate the negative thoughts that had taken root in my mind over the last couple of challenging years and encourage it to grow down deep into the quiet centre of my being. Wow, how easily I could have missed that!

As I mentioned last week: “I am increasingly aware that the rhythm God calls us to may not revolve around the liturgical calendar or the seasons of the year but is instead a call to draw our lives into that rhythm of Eternal breath, a rhythm that Jesus obviously maintained in his life.” This sounds very vague, mystical, intangible, but for me is also very liberating and in many ways a perspective that needs a whole realignment of our thinking. In the past, I tended to think of the seasons of life as something “out there” I need to grab hold of. Now I realize they are something buried deep within that I need to give breathing space to. I reach deep down into the centre of my being, going deep into the mystery, the wonder, the beauty and the love of God. I relax, breathe deeply of the fragrance of God, allow my Creator’s presence to penetrate the hidden recesses of my soul, lodge there and shine the bright light of God’s presence on me. The rhythms and the seasons of our lives are rooted in our lived experiences and our search for meaning but they will not unfold themselves fully unless we take time to stand back and become aware of who we are and how God wants to guide us.”

Christine Sine, August 2023

Other Scriptures for Meditation, perhaps using Lectio Divina

Exodus 33:14 He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.

Luke 6: 5 Then he said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:9 As for the things that you have learned and received and heard and noticed in me, do them, and the God of peace will be with you.

Creative Activities and Meditation

Pictured left is an image of the painting ‘Endless Rhythm’, created by Robert Delauney in 1934. It is taken from The Tate Gallery website, and is described by Jo Kear (May 2016) on the Tate’s website. Consider making your own ‘rhythm’ painting or drawing, and overlaying your daily, weekly, or even annual rhythms.

Robert Delauney, Endless Rhythm, 1934

Copyright held by Tate Gallery. Permission to share under Creative Commons Licence CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported)

“Endless Rhythm 1934 is a large, vertically orientated painting by the French artist Robert Delaunay. Three coloured disks painted on a pale blue ground move rhythmically in a strong diagonal from the bottom left to the top right of the canvas. The main body of each disk is made up of thick undulating black and white lines. The black line connects with the white causing a twisting effect which sends the eye around the composition in an endless loop. A further sense of movement is created by a central line of red, greens, blue and yellow which ripples through the centre of the disks, disrupting but also linking their forms. The blue and yellow of this line is echoed in the thin lines of each colour traced delicately around the bottom and top disks. The round centre of each disk is split into two hemispheres of alternate colour – the soft blue of the ground and a muted grey. The intersection of these hemispheres forms the only straight line in an otherwise soft, curving composition.

Endless Rhythm focuses on geometric shapes and the use of contrasting colour. Delaunay’s interest in the intersections of music, visual art and colour theory had long dominated his work.”

    • Delaunay’s painting was found on the ‘Art Class Curator’ website. The following link takes you to a section on ‘rhythm in art’ – you may find a different painting that speaks to you about rhythm. If you do, please share it with us.
    • Another suggestion is to take the photo of this group’s collage, match the transcript statements to it, and then add your own words, drawings or, indeed more collage items to represent your own “rhythm”.

    Music Meditations

    The theme ‘rhythm’ makes one think of drumming, and so we explored whether there were videos available that might enable us to ‘have a go’ as a means of drawing close to the rhythm of God. It also picks up on one of the sentences from Chris Tweitmann’s meditation at the start: Jesus enters into the tyranny of our urgency—our predisposition to work ourselves to the bone—and empowers us to live to the beat of a different drum.

    Here are two to enjoy:

    Healing Rhythm – Earth’s Heart beat with Christine Stevens 

    Learning a Rhythm for Chanting and Drumming in Nature 

    And Finally

    Here is a very rhythmic repetitive worship song for you to enjoy and hopefully hear the words spoken to you … The Blessing (Chris Brown, Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe and Steven Furtick)

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, the song ‘The Blessing’ went viral. Many of us used it to bless each other as we coped with whatever the pandemic brought us. Here is the most joyful version that I have heard: 12,000 singers from 154 nations, singing in 257 languages!

    Watch the video.

    The Blessing  – Lyrics (repetitions removed)

    The Lord bless you and keep you
    Make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you
    The Lord turn His face toward you
    And give you peace

    Amen, amen, amen

    May His favour be upon you
    And a thousand generations
    And your family and your children
    And their children, and their children

    May His presence go before you
    And behind you, and beside you
    All around you, and within you
    He is with you, he is with you

    In the morning, in the evening
    In your coming, and your going
    In your weeping, and rejoicing
    He is for you, he is for you

    He is for you, he is for you