Words from our District Superintendent
SPRING AND THE THE RHYTHMS OF LIFE…
It’s Spring. At least I think it is. It seemed like Spring back in early February and then two weeks ago we had icy winter weather with snow and subzero temperatures! Wow, did that disrupt life! When the rhythms and patterns of life are interrupted it can sure shake us all up.
Spring and the other seasons represent some of the rhythms of life. They remind us that there is a pattern and rhythm that we live by. Spring leads into Summer which fades into Fall and then gives way to Winter. Each season yields something new and is necessary for life - coming, going, only to return again as the cycle repeats itself.
And so it is with all of life. Rhythms. Events, patterns, that create a certain sense of predictability and security. As the Bible says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot...” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
Rhythms are wired into nature. We see them in the seasons, the sunset and sunrise, our
breathing, the beat of our heart. Rhythms are evident in the seed that falls and becomes
a tree, dropping its seeds on the forest floor. There is a rhythm in everything in nature.
Rhythms are the fingerprints of a God of order, Sovereign over all things (Romans 1:20;
Psalms 19:1-6). They remind us we live in a creation carefully sustained by God and not
something that is the product of chaos, evolution, or chance. Wherever we look we see
these rhythms, patterns, evidences of God. So when something comes along that interrupts
those rhythms life becomes scary and full of uncertainty. Suddenly life is no longer
predictable and seems out of control.
In the Fall of 1999 I had a paragliding accident, falling 75 feet out of the sky due to a failed
harness. I broke my pelvis, lower back, legs, and right arm. I spent 3 months in hospital and
had to learn how to walk again, enduring a number of painful surgeries.
It was an event that would change my life trajectory. I would never be be the same again and could no longer participate in the sports or activities I used to enjoy.
The rhythm that I had become used to was now interrupted by visits to doctors, specialists, and physiotherapists.
Rhythms are important. They help us to live life with purpose and on purpose. They lift our eyes from the immediate and the now to what could be and how to get there. They help set a pace for how we live life, reminding us we are in a process of transformation, change that is steady and measured by the hand of God.
Richard Foster in his book ‘Celebration of Discipline’ likens spiritual disciplines, or Holy habits, to rhythms that we can intentionally build into our lives. These disciplines or rhythms give shape to our life and help create a sense of intentionality to life. They become a beat we live by giving a sense of focus that enables us to confidently navigate circumstances when they catch us by surprise.
The rhythms or disciplines we sow into our lives now are like seeds for tomorrow. These seeds bear their fruit and show their worth when life suddenly becomes difficult or when events catch us off guard.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed and caught afloat in a stormy ocean where everything is outside of our control, we discover a secret strength and sense of hope that we never knew existed.
But as the name suggests, they are disciplines. They do to come easy and take work, time and effort to become part of the natural rhythm of our life. The question is, as disciples of Jesus immersed in lives of transformation, are we willing to apply ourselves to building these spiritual rhythms into everyday life?
Have you ever taken time to think on the rhythms you live life by? Are there unhealthy rhythms? What disciplines or spiritual rhythms are evident in your life? Richard Foster mentions a few in his book: fasting, prayer, meditation (the Bible kind), simplicity, confession, solitude - to mention a few. Can I challenge you to take a look inside your heart? Is there peace there, chaos, anxiety, upheaval, hope, or confidence? What discipline or rhythm would help to instil God’s peace and point to God’s presence?
Over the next couple of weeks I would like to look into some of the various disciplines or rhythms mentioned by Richard Foster. It would be good to rediscover some of these disciplines or rhythms. It would be good to find a pace in a world of rush and hurry that is calm and filled with God’s presence. It will be good to develop inner rhythms that are unaffected by the circumstances and events of life that threaten to shake us and leave us in turmoil.
Can I urge you to get yourself a copy of Richard Foster’s ‘Celebration of Discipline’? It is a great little book that is easy to read yet challenging as well. Also, I have added a helpful resource below on the discipline or rhythm of ‘fasting’ which we will look at in more detail next week.