-sharing reflections on what I've heard and am hearing, learned and am learning,
from voices in the Holy Land, the USA, and Rwanda-

Saturday, October 30, 2010

feeling the beat of the reformation

In Palestinian music, there is one drumming pattern that can carry just about any tune. 

boom boom, tak ka tak   boom, tak ka tak              
   boom boom, tak ka tak   boom, tak ka tak

Sounds simple, yeah?  Well, for the beginning tabla player (yuppers, just got one!) it is very difficult to get this beat to sound good, let alone get the correct beat down.  Have you ever seen a baby trying to walk?  You know how they get that look of determination in their eyes as they decide to trudge forward solo for few steps... then you know how they get that look of desperation in their eye as their feet either start leaving their body behind, or their body starts getting ahead of their waddling feet?  Well, my hands = baby's feet, and I'm pretty sure I also mimic baby facial expressions subconsciuosly when I'm practicing this uber unsophisticated yet unimaginably difficult beat.  ...Go ahead and ask my flatmate.

Sometimes, that same metaphor can be applied to life here and in general.  One minute, your in step with the ways of the world, marching to the beat of the communal drum.  ...the next minute, you're tripping up and stumbling over where the down beat falls.  Thankfully, I feel like after two months trying to mix a little of my own beat with that of life here, the two are coming together in some odd-ball symphonic declaration of "hear I stand!"

Yup--here I am... just down the hill from the birthplace of Christianity with only a few days left before the celebration of the Reformation.  What an interesting event to celebrate!  Luther took a look around one day and said, "Hey, something is not right here.  Something must be done.  Let me come up with 95 reasons why things must change, and nail them to the door of a church.  That'll do it!"  ...If only reformation was that simple!

It takes a lot of time and effort to reform a life, a system... a world-order.  I find myself every day trying to reform my own habits and lifestyle to be more productive, more vibrant, and more loving... or at least I find myself thinking about trying to reform my life everyday.  It's really not the easiest thing to do--reform, renew, revitalize yourself.  How easily we start to settle into routine.  Likewise, how easily we look at all that "is not right here" and begin to lose hope, forgetting that "something must be done."  Reformation is a practice and a way of life. 

Over the past three blogless weeks, this has been a big item on my mind.  How do we keep the big picture in mind when we get caught up in the everyday?  How do we reform our daily lives in order to begin to live in harmony with those around us?  How do remind ourselves that every decision we make has an effect on other?  How do we reform our world into one of peace? 

Nail up some ideas to a door, of course!  The idea of reformation seems as simple as the Palestinian drumbeat--boom boom ta ka ta     boom ta ka ta.  But how quickly we can lose the beat and forget the rhythym we were aiming for.  Reformation takes time.  Reformation takes practice.  Now-a-days, reformation takes learning, growing, sharing, discovering, caring, and loving.

As I continue through my time here, I plan on practicing reformation the same way I practice my drum: with enthusiasm, vigor, patience... and lots of prayer! Baby steps…

Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen!

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