I’ve always loved the rhythm of a good song. I used to tap along to the rhythms of the tracks playing on the radio. I progressed to air drums as a teenager and steering wheel drums as an adult. Then I fell in love with a djembe (that’s a large African hand-drum). I remember taking my then-young son to a drumming workshop during a St. Peter’s Festival one year, sitting at the back with another dad, and longing to play along. When Patrick, the workshop leader, invited us to an adult class later in the week to “have a go” for ourselves, the other dad and I turned to one another grinning and said: “I’ll go if you go!”. We both joined Drumlove, and there followed many years of happy tapping and slapping of the goat skin as we honed our skills and learned the drumming traditions and rhythms of West Africa, Jamaica, Brazil and India, always mesmerised by the skills of our teachers, and trying desperately to copy their every move.
Fast forward a few years and I was surprised to find a new love during an accidental introduction to Zumba on a hot hotel rooftop in Tenerife. The rhythms really did get me. Some of the rhythms were familiar to me from my drum workshop experiences, others grabbed me and pulled me in to want to know more, to experience more, to learn how to keep in step with the instructor. So, when I returned from holiday, I sought out a Zumba class to begin to find out more.
The key in a Zumba class is firstly to have fun, but also to try to mirror the movement of the instructor. I don’t always get it right, but I try to keep in step. The more we practice and become in tune with the rhythms of the tracks, the better our dancing looks and feels. The more we keep our eyes on the instructor and follow their movements and instructions, the less likely we are to make a wrong move, and the dance flows, sometimes with the added joy of unexpected solos!
The same principle applies in our Christian lives. We’re called to be imitators of Christ, to keep in step with his Spirit. To learn from him and grow in confidence.
Jesus said “Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message)
Much like my drumming and my dancing, I don’t always get it right, but I do keep trying.