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Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 | 0 comments

God’s Heart Like a Beating Drum


The week of July 3, 2016 was another week of racism and violence in the U.S.  Two black men, Philando Castille and Alton Sterling were shot to death by police officers.  In retaliation, Micah Johnson shot 12 police officers in Dallas, 5 of whom died.  Though weeks like this are becoming common,  these events in particular filled our small rural community with feelings of anger, sorrow, even despair.

Come Sunday there was a definite need in our morning worship service to lament and resist the racism and violence while at the same time being reminded that, because of God in Christ, there is reason to hope.  As it turned out, one of the members of our church had a large gathering drum that happened to be at the church.  Here is how we used it:

  1. At the end of our announcements, I named the violent events of the week.
  2. I then asserted that despite the violence and racism, “God’s heart beats strongly in this world.”
  3. I then called the owner of the gathering drum forward along with 8 others (because that is how many beaters we had…if you don’t have a large gathering drum, you could use a few smaller drums or oven just one small drum…scale it to your resources and personnel).
  4. 9 of us then beat the drum loudly and slowly with a heartbeat like rhythm for about a minute.
  5. When done, the drummers sat back down and the service continued with a prelude.
  6. Here is what is sounded like:

In the face of violence and racism, a simple drum led us all in a powerful time of lamentation, resistance and hope.  This could be adapted in a variety of ways and in response to a variety of circumstances.  Do you have any drums lying around?

© Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen, 2016

Kevin Goldenbogen is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ serving an amazing congregation in the foothills of the Green Mountains of Vermont. He skis, climbs, runs, bakes bread, rides a red Vespa, and tries every day to follow Jesus. He is married to the perfect woman and has two boys who he loves beyond words.

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