As I have mentioned nearly every year during my time here, I do not claim to have any definitive answer for what exactly happened on that first Easter Sunday. I do not know exactly what this thing we call “Resurrection” is. Neither, it seems, did the early Christians, as it is described differently in several places throughout the New Testament. What I can say with confidence is that something happened. Something that was so inspiring and awesome that it gave those earliest followers of Jesus the courage and strength to continue his life and world transforming movement despite the ugly death they had seen him experience and the threat of experiencing that same fate themselves.
They were never the same again. They were changed. And as their descendants, we are called to change as well. The Easter event for us though, is not so much about the kind of one time, sudden transformation that the New Testament portrayal of those first Christians reflects, but rather a life of constant, steady, gradual change; renewal; improvement; transformation; reinvention. The Japanese call it kaizen - continuous improvement through smaller, intentional, incremental changes.
Over 30 years of formal study, writing and speaking on individual and organizational leadership has led me to conclude that the best organizations- organization taken in the broadest sense to include not just companies, but entities like schools, governments, families, and churches - practice kaizen, whether they think of it in those terms or not. And while I have not necessarily always spoken that language during my time at FCC, kaizen has always been one of my foremost guiding principles.
With that in mind, I have invited our Deacons - who as your elected lay leaders are, along with Joy, charged with helping guide this community spiritually - to join me in an even more intentional kaizen effort over the next several months. Based on our own thoughts and input we have received over the last several years from boards, lay leaders and individual members, we will be engaged in discussing what, if any, small, incremental changes might make our Sunday and other Worship experiences, as well as any of our other “spirituality” related efforts, more impactful to more of you. For example, based on last summer’s “experiment” with having members regularly lead the Pastoral Prayer, offer the Word For Our Children, or deliver the morning’s Message during Worship, we will not only do that again this summer (See item on p. 3 ), but look to intentionally make it a more regular feature year-round.
We do this, not because feedback tells us there is anything significantly wrong with what we are currently doing, but because, as a community of Easter people, we are called to always look to do and be better for God, for our own sake, and for the sake of God’s people.
As Easter people, we are called by God to lives of spiritual kaizen.