Monday, August 5, 2013

Human Flourishing, part 2

Last week, I talked about human flourishing or rather, I posed a few questions related to this topic.  I was hoping to receive some feedback and responses, but I hope, at the very least, you have been thinking and praying about these questions.

What does it mean for you to flourish?
What are ways in which you do or you have flourished in your life?
What does flourishing look like for you?
From the dictionary definitions, flourishing sounds extravagant, a luxury.  Our questions in response to those posed might be more along the lines of who has time to flourish?.   Most of the time, it seems as if we are doing all we can to just make it through one more day, to accomplish all that needs to be done - and then, there is no energy to flourish.  Instead, its just time for bed before another round of our crazy lives.
Yet, what kind of life is that?  Just "surviving" to live another day?  Blurry lives?
As some of you may know, my first dad died when I was barely 4 years old.   While there is much that I don't remember about him and about that time after his death, there was a message that exuded from my mom over the years (more implicit than explicit) that each day is a gift and to live into that day in the fullest way possible.  Some days this was easier than others, but as the psalmist wrote, "this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24).
Flourishing has much to do with seeing each day as a gift and a blessing from God.
The other message I heard as I was growing  up was from my stepfather (also a pastor) whose main "mission statement" was to Celebrate Life.   It was lifted up in his sermons, a message board and signs and even buttons.   It made its way into his weekly benediction which I further adapted and use both in his honor and to lift up the message he taught me:  
May the good Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord’s face shine upon you and be good to you; May the Lord fill you with peace, love and much laughter; And may He set you free to celebrate the life that God has given you in all its fullness! In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.
Living our lives to the fullest and celebrating the lives that we have been given are part of what human flourishing is about.
Think about all the good things that make up your life.  Name them.  Write them down.  How are they gifts from God to you?  What are you doing with the life that God has entrusted to you? 
As I mentioned, I found this this concept of human flourishing  on the website, Yale Center for Faith and Culture. They shared these thoughts about God and Human Flourishing:
For many today, God seems an enemy of human flourishing.  Yet in the Christian tradition, God is portrayed as a lover of creation - so much so that the early church father Iranaeus could say "the glory of God is a human being fully alive.".
Are you fully alive?  What might help you live into the fullness of this gift?  With these thoughts in mind, how might your perspective on the flourishing of your own life change?
Yesterday, I challenged the congregation to set their alarms for 3:16pm every day.  In that moment to give thanks to God for the gift of time and for that in which you are engaged in that moment.  May this simple practice help you to see your life as a gift that has been entrusted to you from God that you may flourish in it.

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