- Penn's Maya Solomon moments before an opponent's Free-Throw -
There's a basketball game tonight and apparently millions have plans to watch Kansas and Kentucky play for the national title. People will see some of the best players in the country. It'll be something.
It's a fast-paced game and it seems everyone on the court is moving all the time, but if you watch closely you'll notice something interesting. From time to time the players will pause for a moment and collect themselves. For some it's a cleansing breath. You may see a player looking down, blocking out the chaos of the crowd for just a second or two. It's a moment to rehearse a coach's instruction: "Get position. Get the ball out."
There is a rhythm layered over the rules of the game and those who feel it are often the most dynamic players to watch, bursting with energy one moment and shifting into a lower gear the next. It's improv at its finest and watching those who've mastered it is like listening to jazz musicians as they bebop and block cords moving from one progression to another, side-slipping a melody or adding a flavor of syncopated ambiguity - displacing "expected beats" by anticipating or delaying the beat by even a half-beat.
I've heard the four qualities of a great jazz-man are: taste, courage, individuality and irreverence. Similar qualities make for a great basketball player, and maybe a great Christ-follower too. It's not as if the rules don't apply; it's more like the rules exist as a framework for beautiful creativity.
Whether it's basketball or jazz, tempo matters.
Tempo matters in the lives of Christ's followers too.
Sure there are rules, rules that necessarily provide a framework for the game of basketball, for good music and for a life well-lived. But it's the rhythm found within the rules that makes each life special and beautiful. It's the pause inserted in the pace that makes music, basketball and life more soaring than pedantic.
Holy Week is special. It's a time to pause. Take a deep breath. Remember who God is, what God has done, who you are and what you can do in the light of that Truth.
The rhythm you layer over the framework of Holy Week matters. As you remember Christ's passion, reflect on the Apostles Creed, prepare yourself for baptism, share Holy Communion with your church family, and invite your friends to join you in worship this Easter you'll have lots of freedom to improvise.
You can live these days in beautiful rhythm with a God-honoring tempo.
I hope you will.
Matthew 11:28-30 - Jesus said, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."