Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Rhythm of Life in Loches

I have a new love in my life: comté. Comté is a hard, white cheese, and I buy 500 grams of it from my favorite cheese-maker every Saturday.

Wednesdays and Saturdays are market days in Loches. Farmers, cheesemakers, butchers, etc. come to our village to peddle their goods. I find great joy in buying local, seasonal products! Eggs, fromage de chèvre (goat cheese), comté, salami, and vegetables are always on my list. Occasionally I'll also buy a whole chicken (head still attached), fruit (the apples and pears are lovely right now), or a scarf (all varieties of shoes and clothing can be bought at the market). Someday I hope to buy table linens, a bouquet of flowers, and roasted chestnuts. Eventually I'll try to post some pictures of the market; Market days are now a part of the rhythm of our lives in Loches.

Aside: "Rhythm" is an interesting word. I struggled with its spelling for years until a music teacher showed me the rhythm of the word itself: r- H - y, t - H - m; r - H - y, t - H - m; r - H - y, t - H - m. I haven't misspelled it since.

Communal prayer is also part of the rhythm of our lives: Monday through Friday at 7 a.m. We begin with three worship songs, then we spend some time praising God for who He is. After that we read a passage of scripture together. Each person present reads one verse, and we continue around the circle until the entire passage (typically consisting of about 12 verses) has been read. Then we have about 5 minutes of silence to meditate on the passage. After this time of reflection, we pray about what we have just read. Sometimes we pray prayers of confession because the scripture was convicting. Sometimes we pray prayers of gratitude because the scripture reminded us of the goodness of God. Sometimes everyone in the room has a different response to the passage, which is a  beautiful thing, and evidence that the Word of God is alive. When the prayers subside, the leader rereads the entire passage aloud. In closing, we ask if there are any prayer requests for the day and we pray for those requests. These morning prayer meetings currently take place everyday in two locations: at the church and in our home.

In the evening at 6 p.m. both groups join together at the church. We sing a song and then one question is asked: "Where was God today?" People share about how God worked in their lives that very day, and then we thank God for His blessings. Evening prayer typically lasts about 20 minutes.

 Each morning I feel as though we have inhaled God's grace, and each evening we exhale our gratitude for His goodness. It is a rhythmic, life-giving exchange that provides a gentle framework for our days.

We brought some rhythms with us to Loches, and they are being neatly woven into our routine here. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays I go for a run immediately following morning prayer. I am still memorizing a scripture passage each week--though now I do this in French. We pray together as a family before bed, David makes Pizza on Friday nights, Jack demands attention at 4 a.m., and we go to church on Sunday. Many of these rhythms have become family traditions, and they seem to follow us wherever we go.

But all of these together--the new and the old--make up the heartbeats of our life; they are the cycles--the rhythms--that move us through our days and weeks. I am learning move with them. Someday I hope to move with them gracefully, turning the rhythm to rhyme.

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