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Finding Rhythms in an Interrupted Life

Posted on June 2nd, 2008

I am convinced living rhythmically is one of our gifts to our 24/7 world and a key to walking with God.  Yet my life, like most, is full of interruptions. I love and affirm Wayne Mueller’s words in his book on Sabbath and our need for rhythms:

To surrender to the rhythms of seasons and flowerings and dormancies is to savor the secret of life itself. Many scientists believe we are “hard-wired” like this, to live in rhythmic awareness, to be in and then step out, to be engrossed and then detached, to work and then to rest. It follows then that the commandment to remember the Sabbath is not a burdensome requirement from some law-giving deity — but rather a remembrance of a law that is firmly embedded in the fabric of nature. It is a reminder of how things really are, the rhythmic dance to which we unavoidably belong.

Yet last week I experienced a classic challenge of having five full days of work (pastoring/preparing a message/leading our church) with only three days of time available.  Between a national holiday (Memorial Day),  my oldest daughter graduating from college, and my family visiting from out of town, I wrestled with God. How do I find rhythm in an interrupted life..–when a wek like this is more the norm rather than the exception? I romantically thought of the 13th century “Rule of St. Albert,” which forms the foundation of the Carmelite way of life, with its basic principle of a contemplative life-style:  “The brothers will remain in or near their cells, meditating on the word of God day and night, unless called forth by some other just occupation.” The problem is that I am not a Carmelite monk. Rather I am married with four daughters, a church to pastor and lead into slowing down to be with God (how ironic), and living in a very congested city with well over 8.2 million people. I dropped all but the essentials for the week in my work. The world seemed to do just fine without me. It was a good lesson. I am human, very limited and very much a learner in how to be a contemplative in our 21st century world – a world that fills my life with interruptions that are often from God himself. What have you learned about receiving interruptions as from God rather than as intruders?

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Church Culture Revolution: A 6-Part Vision That Deeply Changes Lives