Spiritual Practice

The Rhythm of Love

Sally Chambers

As I write, a catchy little tune rotates through the radio station’s playlist. The tag line of the chorus is stuck on repeat in my head: “Play the music low, and sway to the rhythm of love.” I sing and sway with the rhythm.

swaying to the music FTR TSP 8S7537683The other day, I noticed that as I held one of my baby nieces, I instinctively started swaying—a pretty clear image of swaying to the rhythm of love. The sway happens with babies because it calms and soothes them. I wonder how many times in a given day God would like to rush down, snatch us up, and sway with us to the rhythm of God’s heart, of God’s love. How often would God like to break through all the other voices and noises in our lives to reassure us that we’re OK? We’re going to make it. We’re loved. We’re cared for. We’re not alone.

Psalm 18:1–19 paints a powerful picture of God’s desire to break through our busyness, defenses, hurts, confusion, pride, addictions, fears, and idols to sway with us to the rhythm of love. The psalmist describes God’s hearing our cries and storming from on high with such force that the mountains trembled. God fights for us; and then God reaches out to us, sweeps us up, draws us out of “mighty waters,” and brings us to an open place, a safe place—all because God delights in us. We are the beloved of God, not only as a people but as individuals—you and me.

Whether you feel, think, or believe you’re worthy of God’s love doesn’t matter. You can’t change God’s love. You are the beloved of God. Nothing you do, say, or choose can change God’s love. Nothing—not time, death, life, culture, evil, good—can change who you are. You are the beloved of God.

Would you know your Lord’s meaning in this thing?
Know it well, love was his meaning.
Who showed it to you? Love.
What did he show you? Love.
Why did he show it? For love.
Julian of Norwich

We can try to fill our lives with other loves; but as St. Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they rest in God. We’ll always be out of step, out of sway, until we know and live as people who are loved by God.

Maybe part of the mystery of the Advent season is that God became human, storming through the skies to rescue us and to lift us up out of mighty waters. Maybe it was God’s way of coming close enough so that God could sway with us to the rhythm of love.



On this Christmas Day, take some time to be alone and quiet. Turn off your cell phone, your computer, the TV. Take a walk, or find a quiet spot in your house to sit. Think about what keeps you from believing that you are the beloved of God. What gets in the way of the sway? In the quiet of this holy season, notice the ways God tries to break through to you. Notice the ways God might be saying to you, “I love you. You’re mine.”

Sally Chambers — One of Sally’s favorite places is the swing that hangs from a big oak tree in her niece’s backyard. Every time Sally visits her niece, she takes a moment to swing and rest in the rhythm of love.

—from devozine (November/December 2011). Copyright © 2011 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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