It’s Monday April 1

This posting is an anniversary post. Three years ago on the first Monday after Easter I wrote my first It’s Monday article for Peace Lutheran Church. The idea was driven by this simple assumption: We celebrate the event of Easter on Sunday. We live the life of Easter beginning on Monday.

These simple postings have been my way of reminding myself and you that Jesus was not raised so that we can listen to trumpets and be filled with the irresistible aroma of lilies. Jesus’ resurrection marks the divine “yes” on the life that Jesus lived among us and the call that Jesus makes upon us. We celebrate the event of Easter on Sunday and we live the life of Easter beginning on Monday.

Our theme for this Easter season, This Time Tomorrow, picks up that same spirit. Each worship service this season we will end by interviewing a person from the congregation, asking them to respond to three simple questions: 1) What do you do Monday through Saturday? 2) What will you be doing this time tomorrow? 3) How can we pray for you?

So this week we prayed for an administrator in a physicians office, a systems analyst at a large insurance company, someone who sells medical products to hospitals, and a worker at Whole foods who is also trying to find ways to pursue his artistic creativity. As we prayed for each, we asked God to help us be more like Jesus in each place we find ourselves and to remind us that what we do on Monday matters as much as the worship on Sunday.

In response, a member of Peace sent me this 5th Century poem. It captures the spirit of our theme, This Time Tomorrow.

Look to this day.
For it is life.
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all.
The realities and verities of existence,
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power-

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day.

It’s Monday. What will it mean for your day to be “well lived?” Peace. Kai

It’s Monday March 18

Recently I had the good fortune of spending some time with Trevor Hudson. Trevor is the author of the book, Discovering our Spiritual Identity: Practices for God’s Beloved, but, primarily, Trevor is a pastor to a community in South Africa.

Have you ever had the experience of meeting an author of a book you loved and being disappointed? I have. This meeting was quite the opposite. Having met him, the words of his books will sparkle even more so with an embodied wisdom, a generous humility, and a life chiseled with grace. Love oozes from his pores.

One of the stories I remember him telling was of a conversation he had with his kids as they approached middle school ages. He enters important conversations with his children not assuming they want to listen to him but inviting them into conversation, “I would like to tell you something. Are you interested in hearing?”

Boiling it down to an essential life truth, he said to his children, “We have one choice in life–live for yourself or live for others.”

Live for yourself or live for others.

I shuddered at the profound implications of this simple phrase. What if we, what if I, could begin to approach life, all of life, leaning toward living for others. I know we won’t be perfect. I know it is, at times, the healthy choice to care for self. But what if we could push the needles of our lives, more and more, toward living for others rather than living for ourselves? What would our homes look like? Our schools? Our communities? Our workplaces?

It’s Monday. “We have one choice in life–live for yourself or live for others.” What will it be this week? Peace. Kai

It”s Monday March 11

We are half way through the Lenten season so it’s time for an important reminder. Each week we have been working through another classic spiritual discipline (confession, solitude, fasting, simplicity, frugality). Our hope is that you have allowed each discipline and the subsequent reflection exercises to enrich your journey. What I know of Type A or dutiful followers of Jesus is that what was meant to be a blessing quickly shifts to a burden-one more thing to do, one more thing to cram into an already packed life.

Let’s press the pause button and remember this core principle:

God loves you no matter what!

Whether you have completed, barely looked at or not even considered participation in these disciplines of the faith God’s grace abounds; surrounding you, encouraging you, longing to fill you with new power and love. So, relax. Today is a new day. Wake in God’s love. Live in God’s love. Rest in God’s love.

Let’s also use this half-way point to consider another important principle. Once we begin to peel back the layers of our lives and ask penetrating questions about the contour of our relationships with God and others, the weight of the work ahead can seem overwhelming. If we honestly reflect on all we could do differently, the list seems never-ending so much so that we can become paralyzed and do nothing at all.

Charles Duhigg, in his book The Power of Habit, provides a key principle for us to embrace at this point. He writes about “Keystone Habits.” As a reminder, a keystone is the wedge shaped piece at the summit of an arch that holds it together. Keystone habits or attitudes are the one or two key habits or attitudes that, if changed, would have the greatest impact on your life.

Duhigg reminds us that we don’t need to change everything. REMEMBER: YOUR LIFE IS A LIFETIME PROJECT. Instead, change a few needful things that will either add vibrancy to the places in your life where your life energy already flows freely though you or eliminate the destructive habits or attitudes that constrict your life. This discernment is not easy, but is exceedingly fruitful. The application is not easy, but leads to more vibrant life.

It’s Monday. What are the Keystone habits or attitudes that can open up a more abundant life for you? Peace. Kai

It’s Monday March 4

I did it! One week with no Facebook or Twitter was easier than I imagined. In fact, I found it quite enjoyable. One evening I read seventy-five pages of a book that I had been crawling through ten pages at a time for more than a week.

Last week I created the luxury of extra time, extended time. Without the ten or twenty minute distractions of social media, I could sink into ordinary time rather than skim on the surface of an already full schedule. I proved to myself that the adages “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have enough time” are personal choices I’ve made rather than absolute truths. I’m held captive only to the world I’ve constructed, not the world that is.

What a gift.

So, what will I do with that newly discovered gift? I’d be remiss if I resumed life as it was. You see, if we learn and do nothing with our learning it’s as if we learned nothing at all. In fact, it’s much worse. When we shut off learning, it’s as if we have withdrawn life support from ourselves. We starve our minds, suffocate our spirits, and withhold the vital nutrition of growing relationships. We die many small deaths.

I’m not willing to live that way. This week, I’ll probably check-in on my social media connections but I choose not to be enslaved by them. I’ve tasted a little bit of a new life freedom and it’s delicious-something to be savored and enjoyed.

New Life. Freedom. In short, that’s our hope this Lenten season as we continue to explore the exercises of confession, solitude, fasting, and this upcoming week, simplicity. Mindful attention to the unhealthy rhythms of our lives can dislodge ingrained habits that lead away from life and re-connect us with the God of new life who blesses us with clear hearts, quiet minds, cleansed souls, and free spirits.

It’s Monday. What are you discovering? What is challenging you this Lenten season? Live in to the challenge, the discomfort. Be unwilling to resume life as it was. Peace. Kai