It’s Monday January 19

We started this year by inviting you to a 30-day challenge, Start Something Old. We invited you to love God, love your neighbor, and love yourself. It is an old command from Jesus (Matthew 22:37-39). It’s a new demand for us, in our time, if the world God imagined has any chance of being realized.

We invited you to choose and then act on simple practices that express love for God, neighbor, and self. The theory is this: We become what we habitually do. So, if we practice loving—simply, consistently, with renewed intention, we will, by the grace of God, become more loving.

I think we all know how desperately the world needs it!

Last week I wrote about my experience of seeing the movie Selma. Today, as we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. day, we keep alive a dream not just by re-telling the story but by loving and re-loving those whom God has given us to love, both friend and enemy.

What does that kind of love look like? For Dr. King, it took very specific form. I recently came upon what some have called his ten commandments for the movement. I commend them to you even as I use them to challenge myself.

I will meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.

I will remember always that the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation – not victory.

I will walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.

I will pray daily to be used by God in order that all people might be free.

I will sacrifice personal wishes in order that all people might be free.

I will observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.

I will seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.

I will refrain from violence of fist, tongue, or heart.

I will strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.

I will listen with respect to those who love and teach me.

It’s Monday. We become what we habitually do. Which of these commands will you focus on and do today? Peace. Kai

It’s Monday January 12

One word—Selma.

Go see the movie. Experience it. Let the haunting and horrifying images penetrate your soul so you don’t forget what it was like (what it is like) for all whose bodies are bruised by violent hatred, whose spirits are beaten down by spiteful prejudice, whose minds are bent and bruised by snarling speech.

When I left the movie theater yesterday I had a physical heaviness in my chest and my tongue was mute, I didn’t know what to say. We stopped at the grocery story on the way home and I wanted to hug each person I saw, black and white, young and old, and yell out, “It doesn’t have to be this way!”

As I was watching the Golden Globes last night, I was struck by a comment that Common, a hip-hop artist, made about his experience of acting in and writing music for Selma.

“My humanity was awakened!” –Common.

And I wondered, why are we still asleep? What will it take to awaken our collective humanity, to awaken yours? Artists systematically mowed down at a publishing house in Paris. Faithful Jews, preparing for Passover, held hostage and killed in a grocery store. Thousands massacred in Nigeria by the extremist group Boko Haram. Unarmed civilians gunned down by police officers in the streets. Unsuspecting police officers murdered in cold blood as they fulfilled their daily duty.

What will awaken us? Will we yet choose to turn a blind eye, to live in the sleepy eyed slumber of our own comfort and position and place?

Throughout the biblical narrative two primary questions are answered in various ways: Who are we? Why are we here?

Genesis 12: You are blessed to be a blessing to all the nations.

Isaiah 42: You are God’s servant who will bring justice to the nations.

I Peter 2: You are a royal priesthood that speaks of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into God’s amazing light.

I John 4: Dear friends, if God loved us this way, we also ought to love one another.

Who are we? We are people blessed by God, servants of God, a royal priesthood, and loved by God.

Why are we here? To be a blessing. To work for justice. To tell a grand new story. To love as God loved us.

It’s Monday. Wake up child of God. There is someone you can bless today. There is injustice to be confronted. Someone living in darkness needs to experience the light of Christ through you. Someone needs to be loved. Peace. Kai

It’s Monday–Welcome to 2015

Welcome to 2015. New Year. New Beginning. New Possibilities. I know, you’ve heard it all before, about 365 days ago! Whether anything new happened last year based on your New Year’s resolve or not, the turning of the year gives you a chance to wonder, to imagine, to dream again. The best thing about the past is that it is just that, the past. It doesn’t have to frame your future or define your present. New Year. New Beginning. New Possibilities.

So the question is, “With all the things you could do this year, what will you do?”

Here is one option: At Peace, we developed a 30-Day Challenge focused on our purpose statement. As followers of Jesus we are invited to Love: God, Neighbor, and Self. Download your copy of the challenge from our website (www.peacegahanna.org).

The assumptions behind this challenge are simple:

  • God’s love is the source of our life. Our love for others is our response to God’s first gift of love.
  • Our capacity to love is not static. We can grow in our love for God and for others.
  • We grow as we open ourselves to God’s transforming grace through simple practices of the faith.

In many ways, there is nothing new about this challenge. That’s why we named it Start Something Old. In love, God called the world into being. With love, God formed human community. For love, God sends us back into our worlds each day.

Love is the originating idea of God, the generative energy for our daily lives, and the transforming power for new possibilities.

Nathan Foster, author of the new book The Making of an Ordinary Saint, creates a compelling word picture that frames both our hope for you for this month and a vision for a grace-filled lifetime of growth. “The clearest evidence of a person’s spiritual formation is that they have become someone whose life is bathed in God’s love, someone freely able to give and receive grace. Someone known for love.”

It’s the first Monday in the New Year. With all the things you could do this year, what will you do become someone known for love? Peace. Kai