March 10, 2011

Sacred Rhythms: Preparing for Lent, 2011 Rhythms. We need rhythms. Rhythms anchor us, center us, keep us in touch with what has happened, what is happening, and what is yet to happen. A rhythm may move slowly at points, and more frenetically at others, but the cadence gives order to it. Breathing is a rhythm. Life happens in rhythm. But whose rhythms are we living in step with? Often, my rhythm is set by the events of my day. On a larger scale, the cadence of my yearly calendar is structured by my activity. There are long stretches of work and writing and travel, then a few stretches of vacations and breaks, then more flurry of activity for our kids and the things they are involved in. These are all good things. But do I want my life to follow the rhythm of my activity? Sacred rhythms keep us in line with the Spirit's work. They provide us with the space to listen, to look, to learn. While my calendar is shaped by my activity, the historic Church calendar is ordered by Christ's life and the Spirit's activity. The year is shaped by His birth, His revealing, His suffering, His death, His resurrection, His gift of the Spirit. I am learning to embrace the sacred rhythm of the Church Calendar to root my life, to ground my work, to keep me in a Groove much larger than my own self-centered world. The Church, of course, is not the first to recognize the value of sacred rhythms. They were following in the footsteps (rhythms!) of their Jewish forefathers, who had feast days and festivals and fasts that were given to them by God while they were still in the wilderness. Think of it: a wandering people with no home yet, no real routines or sense of place...and...
Excerpt from "LUCKY", Chap. 3: "The God-Dependent" [The following is an excerpt from Chapter 3 of Lucky: How the Kingdom Comes to Unlikely People.] There was a man who was looking for the kingdom. Sort of. He was blind. Nevertheless, with everything inside him, he was longing and looking for the rule of God to come. As a blind man in the first century, he was cast out onto the streets, perhaps because his family thought it was his sin that made God curse him with blindness. Either way, the blind in the first century were completely nonself- reliant. Society had done little to make basic survival possible for the handicapped. Pagans viewed them as weak, inferior to the healthy. Many Jews didn’t improve the situation. The blind, the cripple, the lame were also the poor, the others-dependent. They could do little for themselves. They were reduced to begging. Such was the case for Bartimaeus. He was a beggar, completely dependent on others for his survival. Every day he sat by the side of the road hoping he would get enough … food, drink, money, clothes … to make it through another day. Then one day, a crowd was going by. He heard whispers of the name: Jesus. The Jesus from Nazareth? he thought. The rabbi everyone has been talking about? Feet kept shuffling by him. Dirt was dancing around his skin. This was his moment. Bartimaeus cried out, “Son of David! Have mercy on me!” Son of David. That was Messiah-talk. It referenced the ancient prophecy from Isaiah. Did Bartimaeus really think Jesus was Messiah? His cry was met by the sound of angry voices. Male voices. Deep, gravelly barks. Be quiet! Enough out of you! Don’t trouble us! He had heard those voices his whole life. Voices that pushed him aside, told him where to...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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