Cathryn Vitek   -  

Over the past several weeks I’ve been writing about how rhythm establishes harmony

over chaos in both music and life. Our God, who brought order out of chaos in the

beginning, created with rhythm and invites us into his daily rhythm (evening, then

morning) and his weekly rhythm of Sabbath (six days of work, one day of rest). Last

week I talked about how the Sabbath rhythm is so integral to our well-being that God

actually commands us to observe it (see last week’s post here).


In full confession, it has taken me quite some time to appreciate and observe a

healthy, faithful Sabbath practice. What I can notice now that I am better at it is that

if I do not set appropriate boundaries around my Sabbath time, I am fine for the first

few days of the week but by days five and six I am tired, my patience wanes, I am

hyper-critical and definitely deficient in my ability to love my neighbor. I am so sorry

if you’ve encountered me on those days! We need that one day of rest to surrender

the work into the hands of the God who loves us more than we could ever imagine,

and frankly, to remember… and celebrate…that he does.


Over time Sabbath observance for the ancient Jewish people began to include a

gathering of the community to celebrate God’s provision and God’s faithfulness. In

Acts 2:42-47 we find the story of the earliest Christian community and see that

Sabbath also included a community gathering for them. They actually gathered

together every single day! There were many reasons why they gathered that way, and

one of them most assuredly was that when believers gather and remember God’s

faithfulness to the community and/or to individuals…when they share about healings

or new perspectives on life or new learnings about what scripture means or new

blessings or answered prayers…when God’s people come together to thank God and

lift his name as holy and almighty, and remember his acts in Christ Jesus…

something amazing happens. It is intangible, and hard to describe, but I think it is

the work of the Holy Spirit uniting hearts and minds in God’s love. We feel it

individually but experience it communally and there is nothing like it on earth.


The pandemic paused that kind of gathering for us. It was a miracle that technology

allowed us to participate in worship via our devices. And many of us (my own self

included!) began to see the benefits of doing church at home in our jammies with our

coffee. It is truly a blessing to experience the gathering that way when we are unable

to gather in person, but it is not the same. It is difficult if not impossible to

experience the Holy Spirit’s work of uniting hearts and minds in God’s love when we

aren’t cognizant of those who are gathered with us. And the technology that affords

us the opportunity to worship at home also affords us the opportunity to participate

in it whenever we want, which is a significant interruption of the Sabbath rhythm.


If I sound a bit preachy, it is only because I recently discovered the truth of this for

myself, and my hope is to gently encourage you, as you feel comfortable given Covid

19 metrics, to begin again with in-person worship as part of your Sabbath practice. It

will be life-giving. A few weeks ago I attended our District Superintendent’s

installation service. We were all fully masked and distanced; we could not sing with

the worship team but we could clap. We could pray. We could breathe it all in –

children of God gathered to praise and to pray and to celebrate all the ways God has

been faithful and all that God has provided. The Spirit washed over us and I wept just

to be resting in the presence of the Spirit surrounded by brothers and sisters of

Christ. I left restored, joyful and filled with hope. I want nothing less for you.

“There is a sound I love to hear, the sound of the Savior’s robe as he walks into the

room where people pray” begins my current favorite song. You can listen to it here. I

pray it blesses you as it blesses me; and I hope to worship with you soon.


Walking in Rhythm – Part One

Walking in Rhythm – Part Two

Walking in Rhythm – Part Three

Walking in Rhythm – Part Four