"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Holy Heartbeat

I have a particular music student who has a little trouble with rhythm. She knows in her mind there's a difference between an eighth note and a quarter note, but she's had difficulty working that out on the keys. I always explain to my students that the beat of music is likened to a steady heart beat. If we're sitting and reading a book, the beat might be slow; if we're jogging around the block, then the beat will be fast. But either way, it will be consistent. There's no irregularity to the beat, or else there's a serious problem.

Well, Katie just couldn't seem to get it. Not that there's no rhythm within her, it's just she hadn't been able to tap into it. And so I set my metronome (the little instrument that keeps a beat) and had her try to follow along with that. No good. Still didn't work. I tapped the piano and counted out loud myself along with the metronome. Still no results. So I asked her to count along with the metronome. Well, in her mind, she was. But still no luck. Until I asked her to count OUT LOUD with the metronome. And somehow, almost without fail, when her own voice began penetrating her own ears, she was able to respond to the correct beat and rhythm. And now, after some time, the rhythm that is naturally in her has begun to respond to the beat of the music.

As I was thinking earlier about the upcoming worship service, I was dwelling on some of the congregational responses we will be using this morning. I've heard people say on occasions that they don't care for such because people just say them and really don't mean it. Take the Apostle's Creed or Lord's Prayer for examples. Have both not the potential for such? That we can so easily let both roll off our tongues and never mean a word of it? Sure they can. But at the same time, it is a scientific fact that when we hear the sound of our own voice, a biological occurrence takes place within us that responds to that voice. And things within us change. Just like Katie's counting out loud to find the rhythm within herself, something happens when we hear ourselves say, "I believe in the God the Father, the Maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ His only Son..."

Yes, there are times I pray prayers where the words have not yet come from my heart. Words as simple as, "Not my will, but Yours." But it's also my prayer, like Katy, that what I understand with my mind will descend one day into my heart and give me a beat that is in rhythm with my Father's.

Just an ordinary moment...

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