A Community of Rhythm – October 2016

As part of the Pride Parade, here in Peterborough and elsewhere, it is traditional to stop for a moment of silence.  All the music, all the whooping, all the marching, comes to a standstill as we stand to reflect on and remember those whom we have lost to AIDS and homophobia, but whose spirit and work continue to inspire us.

This year it was suggested that in that silence, we all tap our chests in a thu-thump, thu-thump rhythm… a heartbeat.  The intent was that we would all thump in sync, and feel the beat of the hearts around us, and the beat of hearts the world over.

Then a horn blew…the moment was over…and the bagpipes began playing again.  Those carrying our UFP banner stepped off together as if in a folk dance.  Hands began to wave once more, cameras to click, voices to be raised in ‘Happy Pride’…a unique moment in time making a music all its own.

Many hearts beating in one rhythm, a rhythm made up of many unique beats.  I’ve read that at a few weeks gestation, the human embryo develops cells that begin to ‘beat together’….cells that then go on to form the heart.  Perhaps this means that we are wired to share a common rhythm, that we are musical, rhythmic beings that are meant to share that music with each other.

Our non-fiction read for October is This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin.  In his introduction, he talks about the basic elements that make up music…one of those elements being rhythm.  Rhythm, he writes, “refers to the duration of a series of notes, and to the way that they group together into units.” It is “the relationship between the length of one note and another…and is a crucial part of what turns sounds into music.”

Rhythm seems an apt metaphor for community to me…  We are individual notes, and the ways in which we relate to one another…the ways that we group ourselves together… is what makes the music that is community.  The particular song we play, and how loud it is, and how fast it goes, is determined by who is present.  In order for the full complexity and beauty of the music to come forth, we are each called to be just the note that we are, playing in relationship with those around us.

Many notes, an infinite variety of tunes, one rhythm.  Fascinating!

I’m feeling the beat with you.      ~  Rev. Julie