You know sometimes you make up words to explain spiritual realities such as the reality of living in the body of the Lord. I read an article about a year ago that intrigued me. This article was explaining the lost art of creating a cozy and welcoming environment for family and friends when they come to visit. I had some initial thoughts that I put to paper (or in the 21st century, computer) but then laid them down. A year later stumble upon these thoughts again but now with a slight twist and hopefully a little fuller. I revisited the original article I had read a year ago, then discovered more articles on the same topic. All these articles were trying to explain a word and all of them had difficulty conveying the depth of what this word means. So much so, they had to use photographs to be able to capture the true essence of the Norwegian word Koselig(koo-s-lee). Koselig is loosely translated to cozy in English.
My research revealed that the Dutch, Danish, and Norwegian languages all have a similar word that describes a way of living and attitude toward life that fosters a sense of belonging, a general sense of well-being and togetherness through spending time together. The Norwegian word Koselig is the word I’ll be focusing on in this post.
The original article I read focused mainly on creating a cozy and welcoming environment in the home, but another article actually expanded and captured better the attitude toward life and a way of living with this quote,
This concept is difficult to translate to those who do not live here, but basically anything can (and should) be koselig: a house, a conversation, a dinner, a person. It defines something/someone /an atmosphere that makes you feel a sense of warmth very deep inside in a way that all things should be: simple and comforting.
The environment of coziness, or Koselig, is seen through sharing meals together, providing wool socks and warm blankets for each other, lit candles, good music, sharing a crackling fire and sipping hot chocolate or drinking coffee. Often there is a steady stream if conversation but of the lighter nature, nothing too deep or controversial. This time is used to enjoy the company of others in a warm, not only in temperature but also an inner warmth, welcoming, and inviting atmosphere. This article states there is no manual or a set of how to’s that produces the sense of Koselig.
It is learned or caught by living in it all the time.
The word Koselig is even hard for a Norwegian to explain. I feel that way too when is comes to things that can only be comprehended in the spirit. Body life or living in community is an idea that is difficult to explain and can only be truly understood in the Spirit. When I mean understood, I mean Body/Community life as Christ sees it not as our limited minds can conceive.
So the word I am making up is Spiritual Koselig to describe what it’s like living in the body of Christ. Spiritual Koseliging is an attitude toward life and way of living that’s found in Christ’s body. What’s important to see is that for the Danish, Dutch, and Norwegian people their attitude toward life and way of living is what produces this cozy environment. It’s not the cozy environment that creates the attitude toward life or way of living. It’s the same in Spiritual Koseliging, it’s in seeking, knowing and sharing Christ’s life together that we’ll experience His Spiritual Koselig. Christ is Spiritual Koselig Himself. To live in Spiritual Koselig is to live in CHRIST. Spiritual Koselig as Christ intended is what our communal instincts are leading us to. It’s His community as He intends it that will fulfill that desire for belonging, sense of worth, wholeness, and togetherness:HOME.
Christ knows a fundamental thing about us, that we are communal creatures because He is communal too. He is communal, living with His Father, and the Holy Spirit. This is His community. This entire community of the Godhead lives, breathes, and resides in the spirit of those who have allowed Him. He has given us a desire and instinct to live communally, this is what draws us to be together. We cannot help it, it ‘s a part of the DNA of the new Humanity.
Christ also created within Himself, a practical physical reality on earth of this community, it’s called by many names. All these names point to and describe different aspects of the true community. This community is known as the body of Christ, a family, a bride, the called out ones, and a house. He used all these familiar words to express in fullness what His true community is like.
The idea of intentional commuity life is becoming a newer buzz word. It’s becoming a part of the necessary furniture for something to be considered an “organic church.” I agree with this but not they way you might think. We as humans have a few default settings, we recreate from what we know and/or have experienced. And we think that setting all the external things in the right place first, will produce the life and environment that we are longing for within. This is what religion does to accomplish things. With religion, the emphasis is put on the thing or form, not the Life. When we focus on things, we get division and sectarianism. But when we start with Life we get vision and unity. In the human world, we think form produces life but in God’s view of things Life produces the form. If form is our starting point, it has to be maintained by humans, whereas, Life will always be what maintains and sustains the form it creates.
We need to be careful when it comes to the idea community/body life, that we’re not recreating a new set of furniture, or to put it another way, a system or way it has to be done so we can say we’re doing church the “right” way. If we start out with this mindset we’ll completely miss body/community life, as Christ intended, altogether.
Body/community life is not about having the right external things in place such as eating meals together, being in each other lives, or sharing our resources and burdens with one another. It’s actually about a group of people living and abiding in the ONE LIFE together. This ONE life is Christ’s very own Life. The life we are “sharing” is not our human life, it’s Christ’s life that we are sharing in together. When we are sharing in the LIFE of Christ together you’ll see people naturally getting together, being in each other’s lives, wanting to share meals, resources, and burdens. It’s LIFE that produces this form and will sustain it.
SOMETHING TO BE ENJOYED NOT ENDURED
Saying in Norway “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.”
In a climate that is known for long cold bitter winters this attitude toward life and way of being is what produces an environment of coziness, belonging, and togetherness. A study was done on the people who live in Norway, about the effects of winter on their mood. It was assumed that living in a harsh cold climate they would find a higher rate of depression. But to their surprise, the rates of depression were lower than the counterpart environments found in America.
They don’t see winter as something to be endured but enjoyed which is the focus of my next point. It’s from this point of view, that gives another aspect to the idea of Spiritual Koselig. In case you haven’t noticed, this world isn’t getting better. All the systems of the world that man has created have fallen, are falling and will continue to fall to decay. Some of these systems include the educational system, policial system, financial system, healthcare system and religious system to name a few. This is one reason not to continue to put all our efforts and energy into the world system for it’s passing away. The world and its systems have to fail to make way for Christ’s Kingdom. He is not fixing this world, he has made a new one in Himself.
You hear Paul saying the same thing in Gal 6:14,
But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Paul was not the only one crucified to the world and the world to himself, this is true for every person who has accepted Christ as their savior. You don’t have to put all your efforts into saving the Titanic because it’s been crucified on the cross with Christ. You can turn your focus and attend to His kingdom.
Christ’s kingdom is here present today and is increasing daily on this earth but it can only be seen with spiritual eyes. Just like in the days when Jesus walked the earth in his single human form, he told the Pharisees, “Behold the Kingdom of Heaven is among you.” He was referring to Himself, calling Himself the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven is in a different human form today. It’s called by many different names such as a body, a family, a bride, or a city. Christ in His people equals the Kingdom of Heaven, on earth. Christ is the new heaven and the new earth of which we will be the image and expression of when He is revealed in full Glory.
Two points to all this, one living in the world doesn’t have to be something endured. It can be enjoyed! Two, the quote, “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing,” hold a small key as to how we can enjoy this world. We need a change of clothes. Christ is who’s been provided for us to live in, he is our new world now. He is our new clothing and what this practically looks like fleshed out is called His body. Living and sharing His life with each other, Spiritual Kosileg as He intended and created it to be, is how we’ll enjoy our time here in this world. It’s living in Him, through His body, that will fulfill our sense of belonging, we’ll experience a general sense of well-being and togetherness, as seen through spending time together. To spend time with each other is to be spending time with the Lord Himself.
It is the environment of Himself, that he has provided for us, as He is bringing about His Kingdom in greater fullness. We don’t live in the body for only this purpose, it is a by-product, but just imagine a group of people living by the ONE life of Christ, who are seen to be happy and enjoying life. They will turn the world upside down. Seeing a group of people who by every right, could be depressed, sad, or possibly downtrodden by the events of the world, but are truly joyful and content. They are the foretaste today, of what it will be like when Christ comes in His fullness. This is one more reason why it’s important to rightly apprehend the reality of Christ’s body. We find enjoyment because He is our enjoyment and we express our enjoyment of Him to one another. He is not just a piece of furniture to be added to our system. He is the fullness of the Kingdom and Christ is, through his body, drawing all men to Himself. We carry, Spiritual Koselig, with us everywhere we go in ourselves, our homes, our conversations or a shared meal because Christ is the true expression of BODY LIFE.