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Article from: http://www.calvin.edu/worship/stories/drumming.php

What is it about percussion that appeals to worshipers in so many cultures? How does drumming together help Christians build community?

John Meulendyk, pastoral lay assistant at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, could plainly see the problems facing Ferndale, Michigan. Like many inner-ring suburbs of Detroit, Ferndale is losing people, jobs, and income. Meulendyk gathered five women at his church to pray and discern how to Djembe drum from West Africaaddress these changes.“We wanted to do a worship renewal project that would be ecumenical, something to unite the congregations in our community. We sat in prayer. We thought about this question: If we put aside all the theology, what unites us? “It’s our Heartbeat..

Human beings are created in the image of God. However, because of sin we have lost our connection with God and with each other. Through Christ’s redemption we receive the courage to explore our lost connections with one another. In the syncope of our beating hearts echoed through the African drum, Christ creates a way for us to confront our most daunting fears and prejudices of others. In terms of worship renewal, by following the rhythm of our beating hearts through the drum, God gives to us an embodied connection with others.

This new relationship creates worship – a space, whereby, we and others are renewed in sensing God’s own heart beat. We all have that in common. And 90 percent of cultures have a drum beat,” says Meulendyk, who has degrees in divinity, pastoral ministry, osteopathic medicine, public health administration, and dental surgery. So Zion invited local congregations to join them for a worship drumming project. Its results continue to resound in worship services and new relationships. 

Many cultures use percussion in worship. Thirty years ago, when Meulendyk was a missionary dentist in Guatemala, he noticed that using hand drums and marimbas helped missionaries spread the gospel and connect with Quiché Indians.

Young and old, black and white, richer and poorer, Baptist and Episcopal, people fell under the spell of recreating rhythms from a Catholic liturgy in Ghana. Not that it was easy to learn the multi-layered patterns of metal gankoqui bells, gourd rattles, djun djuns (double-sided drums), and djembes (single-headed, goblet-shaped drums). “The big struggle is to hold on to your rhythm when everyone else is doing a different one,” Meulendyk said.

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Let us reread some of these statements:

“If we put aside all the theology, what unites us? “It’s our Heartbeat..”‘

Through Christ’s redemption we receive the courage to explore our lost connections with one another”

“through the drum, God gives to us an embodied connection with others.”

Put theology aside? Lost connections with one another? Through the drum, God gives to us……?

“People fell under the spell…”

We have learned from studying eastern religion that the occult practices of meditation and mindless repetitions, cause an altered state of consciousness. This is the doorway to divination. The Bible forbids this. So, this is yet, another sickening practice that is being brought into the church under the guise of spirituality. Worshiping in an altered state will NOT connect you with the Lord Jesus Christ. It will bring you into harmony with the angel of light. Satan is the angel of light the deciever.

This is just one more form of apostasy, and it weighs down my heart to see these Christians so vulnerable to deceit. God will give us nothing through the drum….God is reached through prayer and reading of the Holy Bible.

June 2020
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