I really enjoyed a team building exercise yesterday, which was led by the Drum Cafe. This is an international corporate entertainment and team building enterprise. They use the music of the drum as a means of drawing people together. They claim that music “has the power to transform, inspire, move and motivate us both as individuals and groups” and certainly my experience yesterday suggests that this is exactly what they can achieve.
There were about seventy of us, each with an African drum, and we made music. For about an hour and a half we exhausted ourselves beating out rhythms – sometimes together, but also with different groups having a distinctively different contribution to the whole. It was great fun, hard work and well worth it as a real sense of working together developed and, as we became more proficient (well some were), we were part of the whole. At times, in giving a different beat to the piece, we found ourselves still individuals but expressing our individuality within the overall sound of the drums. The whole thing however depended on listening to each other and to the rhythms and patterns which others were finding and contributing.
One of the young men leading the session explained how in Africa, when people are at odds with each other they drum together and after a while, they can’t be at odds because they are working together to make a rhythm together.
I was really struck by this image and idea – finding a rhythm enables differences between people to find a resolution. In a church which has difficult issues to address – issues about sexuality, women bishops etc, – it seems to me that we need to find a rhythm to work at together. As I read the story of Jesus it echoes with the rhythm of the Kingdom of God with patterns of love, peace, forgiveness and hope intertwining themselves. Surely that is what we need to be working at together, each making a distinctive contribution to the whole, but celebrating the glorious sound which we are offering to the world together.
The sounds of disagreement, anger and division have little to offer the world – for they are already the sounds of the everyday. The world is already used to the sounds of discord, anger and division. We need to find a different rhythm to offer to the world. A rhythm which celebrates the contribution we each can make, but one which gets the feet tapping to the rhythm of God’s dreams – for in the end, they are the stuff of his Kingdom.