James Carvelle made famous the statement, "It's the economy, stupid." in 1992 during the presidential election. It was made to his campaign staff as a way to focus their attention on the central issue that he believed defined that election year. This post is not about the election, it's about what is central to the life of people who follow in the walk of Jesus.
It's the Spiritual.
Now before I describe some new/old ways I'm attempting to recover a more focused life in the spirit, let me begin by acknowledging that Lutheran theologians have often guarded against dividing the spiritual and the material. We tend to see God in the everyday. We don't divide out the spiritual life from the meal at lunch, the crucial conversation with your boss or the work you are doing for affordable housing in your community. It's all integrated. That's true for me as well.
Lately, I'm finding a need to find a center that will help me live into those everyday experiences. The shape they are taking is found in three resources.
First is exercise and diet. I've written about this elsewhere, so I won't go in to detail here. But I'm amazed how eating well and exercising, even if it's just a walk in the neighborhood, has helped me connect with my body. There is a spirituality to that.
Second, is this little book of Psalms in the translation by Eugene Peterson. I love reading a Psalm either outloud or quietly to myself. Check it out. The Psalms will come to life for you in ways they haven't for a long time. Traditionalists tend to not like the Message versions of some of their favorite passages, and I get that. So don't use it for Psalm 23, but read Psalm 58 for a new twist on the political reality of life in the 5th century BCE, and see if it doesn't apply to today. Or lift your spirits with Psalm 103. Such life. Peterson is a poet with language.
Third is a app on my phone called HeadSpace. It's a program of guided meditation for 10 minutes. I start out everyday with this meditation. It helps me center and focus. One ways I adjust the meditation is instead of counting my breaths, 1,2,3,4.. as instructed, I use the Hebrew word for God Yahweh. Breathe in Yah, breathe out Weh. My wife introduced this idea to me based on a reading of Richard Rohr.
My morning is now ten minutes of HeadSpace, followed by a reading of a Psalm. It's my place of Peace with God before tackling the daily ups and downs of this spiritual/material mixed up life. So, far it seems the Peace of God is working her way into the everyday.