The Spirituality of Fika
Bruce Lindgren of Independence, MO, USA
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, and to let the oppressed go free-to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” -Luke 4:18-19
My father’s father immigrated to northern Michigan from Sweden as a young man. My family’s Swedish heritage was recognized and appreciated but not deeply ingrained. One particular Swedish practice has caught my eye in the last few years, however: fika (pronounced fee-ka).
Essentially, fika means “to have coffee.” The concept is simple: at work, at home, or anywhere, a small group of people will stop what they are doing and have coffee together (and often something sweet). Often, fika occurs twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. For those who do not care to drink coffee, tea or juice-based nonalcoholic drinks are common alternatives.
Something very profound is happening in the simple act of fika.
The American workday has become very stressful. Workforces are reduced to the bare minimum. So many things “need” to get done, and the American work week is among the longest in the industrialized world. Burnout and depression are common. Even in retirement, it seems like our days are a little too full and stressful.
That’s why the practice of fika is so radical. Fika says, “Stop! Take a moment, and spend some time with the people around you.” It is a reminder that the task at hand is not everything, and efficiency need not define our existence. Fika is a moment of sabbath in the midst of every day. We recognize those around us as human beings who have real interests and concerns.
In a sense, fika is a spiritual practice. It helps us see our lives in the perspective of some larger purpose or value. We are not just instruments of some larger task. We are people with real lives and diverse needs and interests. We need each other and rely on each other for more than the accomplishment of some work task. We need each other to help us be the people we were created to be. Every day, we need to simply stop and “have coffee.”
I am about to do a new thing, now it springs forth… (Isaiah 43:19).
A New Thing
Breathe deeply and listen within. Where is the Spirit doing a new thing in you? How do you feel about the new thing that might be emerging? Are you excited, resistant, fearful, hopeful? Take whatever you are experiencing to prayer. Breathe deeply and listen around you. Where is the Spirit doing a new thing in your community? Pay attention to how it feels to discern the Spirit’s activity and presence within and around you.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.