The product of labor.

“There is, of course, no substitute for work. I myself practiced constantly, as I have all my life. I have been told I play the cello with the ease of a bird flying. I do not know with how much effort a bird learns to fly, but I do know what effort has gone into my cello. What seems ease of performance comes from the greatest labor. . . Almost always, facility results only from maximum effort. Art is the product of labor.

~Pablo Casals, Joy and Sorrow 
(New York: 1970), 76

What is the product of your labor?

At work

Anthony Coleman II “at work”

“If you lose yourself in your work, you find who you are.

If you express the best you have in you in your work,

it is more than just the best you have in you

that you are expressing.”

~from Whistling in the Dark by Frederick Buechner

Toward Sunday.

Photo by Debbie Cunningham. Antonio Garza of Feeding Crane Farms

This Sunday we will celebrate Labor Day in worship.  Our scripture focus is James 1:17-27.   The writer of James is concerned with the practical wisdom of right behavior (there are 59 imperatives in the 108 verses that make up the book of James).  The basic point is that “for faith to be real, it must be translated into deeds.  It is not enough to be a ‘hearer of the word’; one must become a ‘doer’ of the word as well.”  (New Interpreter’s Bible Vol. 12, pg. 189) Being “theoretically correct” matters little if your life does not conform to the ideas in which you believe.  This reflects a shift in understanding for the original audience and possibly for ourselves.  Once we have learned the basic tenets of our faith, may we consider ourselves practicing Christians if we do not put them into action?  In the photo you see Antonio Garza working in his field.  What would you think if you found out that Antonio did not eat any vegetables?  (of course he does!)  Would that affect whether or not you wanted to be part of his CSA?

As we seek to honor the fruits of our labor this week, consider the way in which you live. How does the work that you do fall into the simple rules of do no harm, do good and stay in love with God?  In what ways are you challenged?  In what ways do you feel strong?

Practicing Faith in the World

Crossfit doesn’t just happen in gyms and garages…check this out:

How will you practice your faith out in the world today?  How might your efforts to reach in love stop others in their tracks?  What’s holding you back from practicing your faith in ways that other people can’t help but notice?

Community vs Solo

Over 3,400 Crossfit gyms have popped up around the country since it started just over a decade ago. Gyms have a number of obvious, at least to me, advantages. Gyms have coaches who set programs and teach technique. Gyms allow athletes to workout in groups, encouraging and challenging one another. Gyms develop community and provide a place for people with similar goals to gather.  Gym membership is also expensive. Too expensive for many folks.

Many believe you don’t need a Crossfit gym to become a Crossfit athlete. Plenty of folks do Crossfit in their garages. I visited a friend of Linda’s last year who has been doing Crossfit out of her garage for many years.  Here is a photo of her garage gym…

Lynne’s “I Wish I Was 30 Years Younger Gym”

She’s disciplined and motivated. She works out mostly on her own in her garage. She connects with other Crossfitters online, but her day-to-day practice is solo. While she has purchased equipment over the years, she doesn’t have to pay monthly dues to a gym. The garage gym seems right for her and thousands of other folks.

What do you see to be some of the benefits of practicing your faith in community instead of going solo?  What are some of the costs and challenges of practicing faith in community for you?  Is it really possible to practice faith solo?  Or, is following Jesus necessarily a communal way of life?

Crossfit: All Means All

This grandfather found himself in the worst physical condition of his life a few years ago. Watch this short video. It’s a story of transformation.  You might even call it redemption.

How is your experience of rooting your life in Grace through worship shaping the way you live and move and have your being in your every day life?  How is your experience of gathering weekly to watch over in love the folks in your Kitchen Table helping you to grow in faith?  How are the Christian disciplines (worship, prayer, communion, searching Scriptures, fasting, witness) helping you to show up to work and family and neighbors?  How functional is your faith right now?