I don't know what it is about the sound of drums that hits me in my deepest place. Something primal and raw about it. For as long as I can remember, whenever I am at a parade and hear those drummers, I start to cry. And not a pretty cry either...it is deep, sobbing, wrenching.
One of my favorite movies (ok, I have a lot of favorite movies) is Drumline. It is about this hot shot kid from the city who goes to a southern college and thinks he will reinvent the drumline there. After much turmoil and many shake ups the whole team is better for his being a part of it.
This past week or so the word 'cadence' has been resounding in my mind. I've been looking at it this way and that, trying to figure out what it is that God wants me to learn about it. That word just won't stop speaking to me.
Cadence as far as a marching band or drum line goes is played exclusively by the percussion section. And it's origins come from the military, to provide a beat while marching, so that all can be in the same rhythm.
I've been thinking all week, what does this have to do with our Christian walk? What is important about cadence? Imagine a group of strangers coming together at the beginning of the school year. They have never met, don't have a clue about each other. But they all have the desire to be in the drumline. They all have the equipment necessary to play. They all know the rudiments of that drumline. But they are all strangers.
So first practice. One marches this way, one that. One plays this beat, that one has a whole different rhythm. They all have the desire. Now comes the discipline. They all have the instrument needed. Now comes the practice. They all have the same section leader, now they just need to follow his leading.
We as Christians are like that drumline. We all have the desire to live our lives for the One who gave His life for us. We have been given the equipment needed to get there, the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. We all have the same section leader, Jesus. Now comes the discipline, now comes the time spent bringing into play all that we are learning. And just like that drumline, we are not lone rangers. This is not the time to march to the beat of a different drummer. We are part of a larger body. Part of a fellowship of people with the same desires and focus.
We are told in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 12:18 that God has placed us all as members in one body, just as He desires. And elsewhere in that chapter it talks about how one part of the body cannot say to another, just because you are not like me, you are not necessary. We are all different, but we are all part of one body. We are all unique individuals, but we are all fundamental and significant parts of the body; the body of Christ.
As we become mature Christians, we realize how much we need one another. We realize, that just like that drumline, we have to learn to play alongside each other. We learn to match our step to others. We learn to follow the same section leader and start marching in unity and formation. We don't become like drones or robots, we become part of this beautiful living organism. This vital heartbeat of Christ. We become greater than just ourselves and others can see that.
When I see that drumline marching, I see one unit. Yes, there are many different people. Men, women, every ethnicity, short, tall, thin and heavy. But when they march, they are one. They have a precision and an excellence that just one person could not achieve. It is like when you see films of fish swimming in the ocean. Yes, one fish is beautiful, but when you see a whole school of fish, darting this way and that in perfect harmony, synchronized exactly it is breathtaking. The same when you see a flock of birds that seem to be a wave in the air, you cannot even begin to describe the artistry and grace. That should be a picture of us, as the body of Christ.
Our purpose is to march alongside our fellow believers in harmony and rapport. As we take the time to do that, we learn better to love one another. We can see our differences, but we choose to dwell on the things that unite us. We see our distinctions but don't let that separate us. And as it says in John 13:35, the world will know us by our love for one another.
I have learned over the years (and for an introvert this is a hard lesson) that we need each other. We need fellowship. We need friendship. We need correction. We need love and we need laughter and tears. We need prayers and sometimes we just need a hug. But we don't get that when we are all alone. We get that when we are in league with others who have the same desires and passions. When we choose to join that army of the Lord, to march in formation with others who have made the same choice.
The Lord thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty is the army that obeys his command. (Joel 2:11) Another use of that word cadence has to do with the military and it is used when they are marching or running. Also called a jody call or work call, it is that call and response we see so many times in movies as the soldiers are running together. It is an integral part of building camaraderie and teamwork. It keeps them moving as a unit and in formation. It was very important in early battles, as it kept the soldiers disciplined and directly affected the speed at which they traveled. Again, they were one body, one unit, one organism. All working together for the greater good and knowing they could count on each other and would have each others backs.
We would do well to take a lesson from this. That is synergy; the fact that the whole created by all the parts is greater than just the parts themselves.
We are that synergy. We, as we come together with other Christians are a force to be reckoned with. We are greater together than we are alone. We all have this beat inside of us, and when we join with the beat of others we become the true heartbeat of our Father. We become a living organism of His love and His purpose. We move in unity and shed His love abroad. We become that mighty army spoken of in Joel as we obey His commands. And His greatest command was that we love the Father first and then that we love each other.
And that is when we are marching to the beat of His drum; His heartbeat.