This is an addendum to the previous blog on rhythm. If you haven’t yet read it, I suggest you read it first.

Rhythm is a phenomenon of time.

Rhythm is an emphasis in time.

Holy rhythm requires sacred time.

I was talking with Chris Greseth about these things today. A musician’s insight into rhythm is helpful. During our conversation he reminded me of a book that Jason Upton gave me a year ago:

The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel

Today I re-read it. Here are some gleanings; I heartily urge you to read these selections slowly and thoughtfully. -BZ

“Technical civilization is man’s conquest of space. It is a triumph frequently achieved by sacrificing an essential ingredient of existence, namely, time. In technical civilization, we expend time to gain space. To enhance our power in the world of space is our main objective. Yet to have more does not mean to be more. The power we attain in the world of space terminates abruptly at the borderline of time. But time is the heart of existence.”

“Reality to us is thinghood, consisting in substances that occupy space; even God is conceived by most of us as a thing.”

“The result of our thinginess is our blindness to all reality that fails to identify itself as a thing, as a matter of fact. This is obvious in our understanding of time, which, being thingless and insubstantial, appears to us as if had no reality.”

“Indeed we know what to do with space but do not know what to do about time, except to make it subservient to space. Most of us seem to labor for the sake of things of space. As a result we suffer from a deeply rooted dread of time and stand aghast when compelled to look into its face. Time to us is sarcasm, a slick treacherous monster with a jaw like a furnace incinerating every moment of our lives. Shrinking, therefore, from facing time, we escape for shelter to things of space.”

“The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments.”

“The Bible is more concerned with time than with space…it is more concerned with history than with geography.”

“There is no equivalent for the word ‘thing’ in biblical Hebrew. Is this a sign of linguistic poverty, or rather an indication of an unwarped view of the world, of not equating reality with thinghood?”

“While the deities of other peoples were associated with places or things, the God of Israel was the God of events.”

“One of the most distinguished words in the Bible is the word qadosh, holy; a word which more than any other is representative of the mystery and majesty of the divine. Now what was the first holy object in the history of the world? It is, indeed, a unique occasion at which the distinguished word qadosh is used for the first time. How extremely significant is the fact that it is applied to time: ‘And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.'”

“When history began, there was only one holiness in the world, holiness in time.”

“Six days a week we wrestle with the world, wringing profit from the earth; on the Sabbath we especially care for the seed of eternity planted in the soul.”

“The emphasis on time is a predominant feature of prophetic thinking.”

“Mankind is split into nations and divided in states. It is a moment in time — the Messianic end of days — that will give back to man what a thing in space, the Tower of Babel, has taken away.”

“To witness the perpetual marvel of the world’s coming into being is to sense the presence of the Giver in the given, to realize that the source of time is eternity, the secret of being is the eternal within time.”

“Just to be is a blessing.”

“We cannot solve the problem of time through the conquest of space, through either pyramids or fame. We can only solve the problems of time through sanctification of time. To men alone time is elusive; to men with God time is eternity in disguise.”

“Creation is the language of God, time is His song, and things of space the consonants in the song. To sanctify time is to sing the vowels in unison with Him.”

“This is the task of men: to conquer space and sanctify time.”