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Meadowbrook Country Club
2149 N. Green Bay Road
Racine, WI 53405

Sunday Service at 10 a.m.
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Intention: For Your Life

If you were brought up in a fairly traditional Christian household, you may have experienced the season of Lent as a somber time. For many years it was considered a penitential time to reflect on one’s sins, to seek forgiveness, and to be better person as one walked the path toward Jerusalem, death, and resurrection, with Jesus. The church ritualized this through the imparting of ashes on Ash Wednesday (a time to remember one’s mortality), through fasting from fish on Fridays, by asking you to "give up" (or fast from) something that you either liked (caffeine, chocolate) or wanted to stop doing (smoking, drinking, swearing). These rituals were designed to bring daily awareness to the spiritual path and to remind you of your reliance upon God alone. Some people more recently have chosen to add, instead of subtract, something to their Lenten days like daily devotions, prayer time, volunteering, spiritual reading, a Lenten class, or exercise, as another way to bring awareness of the divine in daily life.

All of these options are intentional actions designed to help connect oneself to the divine. You are welcome to adopt any one, or none of these practices, throughout the season of Lent. What I’ll be talking about for today and the next five weeks, is intention. Bringing intention into different aspects of our lives, so that, as Mark Nepo says, we are not simply staying alive, but “staying in aliveness.”

To me, staying in aliveness means being present and aware of every moment, whatever is happening, and not letting life slip away from us. It means being conscious of how we spend our time, and often includes gratitude and appreciation as ways to stay aware. Staying in aliveness may mean trying new things, going new places, nurturing or repairing relationships.

Psalm 90:12 says, “Make us realize how short life is that we may gain wisdom of heart.”

I’m sure we all have too many reasons to realize how short, fragile and precious, life is. And, the older we get, the more Ash Wednesday days we need to live through, days when we’re reminded, in no uncertain terms, of our mortality and that of those around us. Just think of al that has happened in the last six months. Maybe you've lost a loved one, know someone who has been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, know someone who has had a close call like a stroke, a heart attack, severe illness, or an accident. Maybe you've faced your mortality by planning for your own funeral, making a will and POAs and getting “affairs in order.” Or maybe you've been confronted with your own aging and abilities in a myriad of ways.

All of these things, and more, have the ability to help us gain "wisdom of heart," wisdom that reminds us to live intentionally and stay in aliveness.

A few months ago, my wife's, Julie’s, cousin passed away just a few months ago and Julie went to the memorial service which was a wonderful tribute to him, the person he had been and the obvious love he shared with his family and friends. Afterwards, Julie shared that it made her wonder how people would remember her. What would her legacy be? What did she hope it would be?

If only we could get a glimpse of our own memorial services! Take a little trip with the Ghost of Christmas Future to see if we’re on the right path. Are we being remembered for what we want to be remembered for? Or is it time for a course correction?

I believe Jesus was a perfect example of living intentionally. He was true to himself until the end of his life, and he was true to an unconditionally loving God and was committed to being an extension of that love. He showed kindness and compassion to the hurting, the lost and the outcast. He spoke truth to power and sought justice for all people. He didn't discriminate or judge. He sought to raise people to a higher consciousness where they, too, might live this way.

Jesus made choices, intentional choices, based on the wisdom of his heart and an aliveness that, through the gospels, we know people experienced in him.

I wonder, if we were to make a pie chart of how we spend our time, would it reflect the aliveness with which we could live? Would it reflect the way we want to be remembered? Would it reflect the wisdom of heart and aliveness? If not, what different choices can we make to change it?

Here’s another way to look at it. What you say “yes” to today and what you say “no” to today will show up in your tomorrow.

May your intention homework for the week be to draw awareness to your life as you live it. Are you living a life that fills you, that helps you grow? Do you feel you are staying in aliveness or do you feel like your days are just slipping by? Are you connecting with those you love, and spending time doing things you enjoy? And what time do you give to your spiritual life? 

May your reflections bring you deeper into aliveness.

Love & Light!