It’s Monday– A Life Re-Imagined

 

A Life Re-Imagined.

 This is the theme for our retreat, Friday, November 11 (7-9pm) and Saturday, November 12 (9-4) at Peace Lutheran Church. We are going to take the transformative insights we have been working with in our sermon series this fall and do two things simultaneously: 1) Help you take a deep, accepting look at your present life, and 2) Give you the framework to create an intentional plan for the next phase.

Here are the themes we will be engaging:

Every Day a Birth-Day: For the first time since I have been at Peace (that’s a long time!) I will teaching the Cycle of Grace—a gift one of my favorite teachers, Trevor Hudson, has given me in the past few years.

Like a Child: To reimagine our days, our lives, our relationships, we have to develop a new capacity to dream, to be child-like in wonder, to hope.

Adolescence—The Struggle is Real: Much of our growth happens through times of struggle and pain. How can we embrace the renewing potential of these times in our lives?

Adulting: How do we make peace with the normal, monotonous, non-inspiring tasks of adult life? Can we find joy in the ordinary, pleasure in simplicity?

Everyday a Birth-Day: In God’s grace, each day is a new day. The past is gone. The future awaits. With the intentional plans you will have created, the present moment will be one to be celebrated—a birth-day, of sorts!

This retreat is not just for the Peace community. It would be a great time for you to invite a good friend or a neighbor or someone you know from the gym—anyone who is open to experience the renewing power of God’s grace and love. Anyone who might want to Re-Imagine Their Everyday Life.

The cost is $25. I will leading these sessions along with Kevin Ryan, our mindfulness and yoga instructor. Michael Lester, our Minister of Music, will be creating times of musical reflection and meditation.

It’s Monday. Do you need to get a gift for yourself? Join us on November 11 and 12. A Life Re-Imagined. Peace. Kai

Register: www.peacegahanna.org or email your name and your intention to attend the retreat to info@peacegahanna.org.

It’s Monday: Haters breed haters

“People who haven’t come to at least a minimal awareness of their own dark side will always find someone else to hate or fear. Hatred holds a group together much more quickly and easily than love and inclusivity.” -Fr. Richard Rohr

When I first read these words I was lured into the trap. I immediately projected onto all the “haters” my disdain for their divisive tone, their dangerous parsing of people groups and ideologies, their duplicitous rhetoric of patriotism. Of course, I was on the side of love and inclusivity. Of course. If only they could see the world like I see the world.

That’s the trap. Haters breed haters, even reluctant haters. I would never want to be known as one of them, as someone who creates either/or categories of people and ideas and policies. But, that’s what happens when I attempt to deny my own dark side, the side of me that is easily seduced into tit for tat, he said/she said, I’m right/you’re wrong thinking and being. My heart overflows with the very vile thoughts and attitudes that I despise. Haters breed haters, even reluctant haters.

I think Rohr is right. Hatred holds a group together much more quickly and easily than love and inclusivity. Love and inclusivity are hard. I have to be willing to listen to those I would, in any other world, despise. I have to be willing to suspend judgment and first check my own heart to see if what I’m opposing isn’t just something that I’m struggling with in my own life. It’s always easier to cast stones at external circumstances than to cast our gaze at our inward disposition. Hatred easily binds us together.

But friends, just because something is hard, doesn’t mean we take the route of complacency and indifference, retreating to our places of comfort and hoping against hope that the pettiness and destructive rhetoric of this season fades away. Love and inclusivity is the vision. It’s the hope of God for human community and, thus, is worth the work.

 As followers of Jesus, our voice must be heard, and even more so, our lives must resound with expectant hope. Even as we honestly wrestle with our own dark sides we can press toward the vision for our common humanity that grounds itself in love and inclusivity. Yes, haters breed haters, even reluctant haters. But, lovers breed lovers, even reluctant lovers!

It’s Monday. We have much work to do. How will that vision of love and inclusivity shape your interactions this day, this week? Peace. Kai

 

 

It’s Monday–Reimagine the Other!

Over the next two weeks we will ask these questions as we Re-imagine our Everyday Lives. How does God see each of us? How are we invited by God to view others? What do we, personally, need to re-imagine about others to move more closely to what God first imagined for each of us in human community?

With that charge, I decided to open up the Gospel of Mark and simply notice how Jesus interacted with others. It wasn’t long before a significant theme emerged.

In the 15th verse of the first chapter, Jesus proclaims that the Kingdom of God is at hand. In other words, Jesus will show us, through his words and actions, what God imagines for us and for human relationships.

In the following verses, Jesus…

Dignifies the ordinary in the call of fisherman (Mark 1: 16-20);

is fully present in healing ways for the sick (Mark 1: 29-32);

is moved with pity for the untouchable lepers (Mark 1:40-41);

and values the ostracized tax collectors and sinners (Mark 2: 13-14).

And that is just the first two chapters of Mark’s Gospel. Following, he will compassionately encourage the mentally unstable, consistently embrace the culturally displaced—women and children, and courageously engage foreigners with the open hospitality of God.

Raising the dignity of each person isn’t just something that Jesus does. It is who Jesus is. The closer we get to the heart of God the more our hearts are cracked open so we can receive one another as image bearers of God—God’s very presence in the world.

Bishop Desmond Tutu said it this way, “Every human is a sacrament of God’s presence in the world.”  Sacraments—tangible, touchable, visible ways we experience the invisible God.

With Jesus’ example in mind, we, as followers of Jesus, unequivocally say these things in our time:

Black lives matter to God.

Women, especially those who have been abused or demeaned for who they are, matter to God.

LGBTQ people matter to God.

Immigrants matter to God.

You might say, “Hey Kai, what about white people, men, or police officers. Don’t they matter to God?” Of course they do. I’m counting on it since I’m a white, middle class, male. Simply recall Bishop Tutu’s words, “Every human is a sacrament of God’s presence in the world.”

But, notice the list of people who Jesus engaged above. God has, and always has had, a decided motivation toward embracing those who have been cast out or cast off, exiled or excluded, disrespected or disregarded.

Followers of Jesus, in our words and our actions, are called accordingly to denounce any acts of violence, in word or deed, which diminish the humanity of another. Followers of Jesus, in our words and deeds, are called accordingly to act compassionately toward our neighbors in ways that celebrate the unique humanity of the other.

For followers of Jesus, all aspects of our lives are conduits for that kind of life to be known, that kind of community to be created. Who we are in our families, as community members, and as responsible citizens of our country are bound by the same call.

It’s Monday. What would it mean for you to follow Jesus and see others as he sees them?  Peace. Kai

It’s Monday–Praying the Hours

We launched our Reimagine Your Everyday Life theme this fall with this vision in mind:

Our creator God has invited us to become co-creators of a more loving world.

In order for vision to become reality, we must shape the daily rhythms of our lives in ways that connect that vision not only to the invigorating source of life, God’s energizing Spirit, but also to the ordinary parts of our lives—the mundane tasks of the day, the momentous and non-momentous interactions we have with others.

This week we launched an initiative called Praying the Hours that does both. Praying the Hours is not new. In fact, is has deep roots in both the Judaic and Christian traditions. We have simply adapted it for our time and our community.

We are inviting the community to join in these prayer times. In the morning, we imagine and anticipate how God will be active in our days, in and through us. Around noon we pray for others as a reminder that even the busiest, most chaotic day is not, in the end, just about us. At meals, we bless God for the gift of one another and our food. In the evening, we reflect on the day past, scanning for grace moments and releasing the burdens of our failures and misfortunes to our gracious and forgiving God.

We have created specific prayers for you to do. If you already have a life-giving prayer rhythm for your day, don’t make this an extra burden. If you don’t, join us and see how God’s presence will be made known in the ordinary rhythms of your day.

 Morning Prayer: Breathe in and out deeply as many times as needed to slow down your mind…

  • Then say, “This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
  • Following, take a few minutes and think through the components of your day and say, “God, help me imagine how I can be your presence in the tasks and interactions of my day.”
  • Conclude with, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace and love.”

Noon: Breathe in and out deeply as many times as needed to slow your mind…

  • Then, call to mind anyone that you know who might be in need of God’s presence—in times of joy or sorrow.
  • Say their names and ask God to be with them.
  • If you are moved to follow-up with any of them, create a plan.

Mealtime: Before a meal, pause for a brief moment to thank God for the grace of daily nourishment. Or, say a more formal meal prayer like…

  • “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest. Let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.”
  • If with family or friends, “Gracious God, thank you for the food before us, the friends beside us, the love between us, and your presence among us. Amen.”
  • You can also choose a prayer from your own background.

 Evening Prayer: Before going to sleep, take a few moments to recall or write down your responses:

  • “God, thank you for being present in these ways_______________________
  • Today, I was grateful for________________________________________.
  • Forgive me for______________________________________________.
  • Finally, say, “Help me to remember your promise that tomorrow is always a new day in your love.”

If you would like to receive text reminders as this new habit is established, we will be sending out reminders in the morning and evening for the next 45 days. Text PTH to 313131.

Remember, these prayers should never be a burden. If you miss a day, no problem, come back to them the next day. You cannot make your God love you more by doing these prayers or less by not doing them.

We simply hope they are a way to intentionally tap into the renewing, energizing power of God as you Reimagine Your Everyday Life… through God’s Eyes.

It’s Monday. Join us in Praying the Hours. Peace. Kai