Posts Tagged ‘Henri Nouwen


3.21.15 … but it is also used as a space to bring people together across cultural, religious, ethnic and racial lines …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Lenten Labyrinth Walks 29/40, Morningstar Lutheran Chapel Matthews NC:
Kit was damp when I left the house at 8:30, but by the time I arrived at the Lutheran Chapel, the sun was streaming through the trees. Spring has sprung. And the daffodils are out, really out! W hat a difference a week or so can make. And  in addition to the daffodils, the camellias that are in bloom. I am in heaven.
And the robins are chirping.
And these are where my mind wandered …
Dignity of Difference:
Dignity: So where do we see the word dignity? She lived her life with dignity.
What does dignity mean?
Difference: what are we talking about in order to understand different don’t we have to understand what we have in common. Some interesting thoughts.
As I look around I think about the quote  my father always said:  the only things we know  for sure are death and taxes.
And this from Lauren Artress …
The labyrinth in modern times is not just a spiritual practice for one to find their center with God, but it is also used as a  space to bring people together across cultural, religious, ethnic and racial lines.
That chimes are not ringing today, but the birds are happy.
I sat at the center today for the first time in a long time. The bricks are cold so I did not sit for long. But it makes me think we need to get people to share space together, if only for 20 minutes. If not, how can we expect to show dignity for the differences if we do not have a  space both physical and temporal where we can come together.
And now I walk out.
IMG_2818IMG_2814 IMG_2819 IMG_2823 IMG_2821  IMG_2825

As I walk out, I hear the sound of the train in the distance and it slow whaling horn. It’s funny, that is actually a happy memory sound to me. I grew up in an urban neighborhood in Atlanta which was bordered by train tracks on two sides. I would love to hear that sound in the night as I was falling asleep.  And then I lived in Wilmette Illinois, not too far from the commuter rail lines going in and out of Chicago. Those train stuff at about 12:30 AM and began again at 5:40 AM. I often remember hearing that laugh sound and even more often the one in the morning, the reason I remember the morning, because my husband and four years of living in Chicago only miss that train that first train five times. I thankfully could rollover and go back to sleep.
 Lots of thoughts from a discussion of the new school tomorrow.…
And after a perfect walk, I ventured over to Matthews NC.   At the farmers market, I bought chocolate hazlenut goat cheese and dill goat cheese. And then I ventured into Renfrow Hardware. I bought lettuces and asparagus for the garden.  The rooster is Better Boy and the beautiful beasts … Remington Steel and Zoe.
IMG_2831 IMG_2837 IMG_2835
And then I circle back to some other ideas …
There would be a series of regular encounters by bringing sacrifices, though the Hebrew word korban is better translated “coming close by bringing close.” The entire system of korbanot and all that went with them was a response to the crisis of the distance of God. That is the story behind the story of Vayikra [Jewish name for Leviticus].
Heather is reading Sack’s new book on Leviticus and shared this from the book……
“(Ex. 20:19). When they made the calf, wrongheaded though they were, they were seeking a way of encountering God without terror. They need You to be close.”
What Moses was exploring… were the fundamental parameters of the relationship between God and humanity.  The God of Abraham was transcendent. Could He also be imminent? Could He relate to humans not only from heaven or the mountaintop, but down in the valley in the midst of the camp? Can an infinite God be close to finite human beings? If not, what hope is there for humanity?
The people could not see God’s “ face” or understand his “ ways,” but they could experience his “ glory.” It was this phenomenon, cloud-like yet radiant, that would dwell in the Sanctuary, the symbolic home of God. There would be a series of regular encounters by bringing sacrifices, though the Hebrew word korban is better translated “coming close by bringing close.” The entire system of korbanot and all that went with them was a response to the crisis of the distance of God. That is the story behind the story of Vayikra [Jewish name for Leviticus].
“Coming close by being close! Wow!  What a great sentence to ponder in our Sabbath study”, says Heather.
* The continuing drama in the Hebrew Bible is of God’s attention and human inattention. God is there but we forget that He is there … Every day is an encounter with the Divine
Life is so full of surprises from God.
I thought the picture was perfect and the meditation below certainly speaks to what we are discussing. (and the scripture) It brings me a sense of completeness when we are studying something and several random sources are on the same wavelength confirming my path or thoughts. God lights up the wakway! Light to Dark to Light to conversations with God and the Psalms and now the Sabbath. How can what we learned about Sabbath enhance our Lenten spiritual quest?
Subject: Daily Meditation: A Still Place in the Market
A Still Place in the Market
“Be still and acknowledge that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  These are words to take with us in our busy lives.  We may think about stillness in contrast to our noisy world.  But perhaps we can go further and keep an inner stillness even while we carry on business, teach, work in construction, make music, or organise meetings.
It is important to keep a still place in the “marketplace.”  This still place is where God can dwell and speak to us.  It also is the place from where we can speak in a healing way to all the people we meet in our busy days.  Without that still space we start spinning.  We become driven people, running all over the place without much direction.  But with that stillness God can be our gentle guide in everything we think, say, or do.
 Henri Nouwen
For further reflection …
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19: 14 (NIV)
And since my last walk here, i did some research on the morning star installed at the center …

What Is the Morning Star?


“Please explain this passage: ‘I will give him the morning star’ (Revelation 2:28). What is the ‘morning star’?”

This passage embraces one of the seven promises from Christ to those who “overcome” (the trials and temptations of life), and thus remain loyal to him to the end (see: 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21). To the church at Thyatira, the Lord Jesus therefore says (regarding the one who overcomes): “I will give him the morning star.”

Christ Himself

Some scholars consider the reference to be to Christ himself. Professor Andrew Hill has written: “Jesus Christ is described as the ‘morning star’ in 2 Peter 1:19 (phosphoros) and in Revelation 2:28 (aster proinos), and He identifies Himself as ‘the bright morning star’ (ho aster ho lampros ho proninos) in Revelation 22:16” (413). He goes on to point out that this “star” symbolism reflects the Old Testament and inter-testament emphasis on the “celestial” nature of the coming Messiah (cf. Numbers 24:17; Malachi 4:2).

William Barclay suggested several ideas. He thought the expression could signify the coming resurrection of the righteous. Just as the “morning star” breaks forth from the darkness of night, so the Lord’s people will break out of the darkness of the grave (1957, 67). Later, however, he came to a different conclusion. He was “quite certain” that the “correct interpretation” is this. The “morning star” is Christ himself. “If the Christian is true, when life comes to an end he will possess Christ, never to lose him again” (1959, 140).

via What Is the Morning Star? : Christian Courier.

For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendor of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy.

via Ad majorem Dei gloriam: November 2013.

And some background on this labyrinth …

Behind the cemetery of the historic Morning Star Lutheran Chapel at 12900 Idlewild Road is a new legacy labyrinth, built to honor the memory of Shannon Christine Kennedy, who died in 2011 at age 36 after an extended illness.

The site is a special place of unexpected peace and solitude, tucked away near the busy intersection of Idlewild and Matthews-Mint Hill roads.

Kennedy’s mother, Marlene Perrotta, spearheaded the project as a way to remember her daughter and bring peace, beauty and enrichment to congregation and community members who choose to walk its calming path.

“Shannon was a daughter of faith. The labyrinth fit naturally with her journey,” Perrotta said.

Perrotta said The Morning Star Chapel labyrinth is patterned after the 14th-century labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral in France. It is 38 feet in diameter and holds 11 walking circles separated by dividers, with many turns along the way.

In the center is the Morning Star symbol, an element carefully chosen for its inclusive nature.

“A lot of labyrinths have Bible verse in the middle, but we didn’t want to sway people’s thoughts. It’s a sacred tool that enriches your life with communion with yourself and God or whoever is the higher power in your life,” Perrotta said.

Local brick mason Bill Stublaski carefully laid the labyrinth’s 9,400 pavers over a period of several months. The project was especially meaningful to him, as Kennedy was the birth-mother of his daughter, Angelica.

Perrotta said there are about 15 labyrinths in the Charlotte area but that this is the only one near Matthews and Mint Hill.

Morning Star Lutheran Pastor John Mouritsen said he hopes the community will discover the labyrinth and that it will become a place of comfort.

“It’s a place of peace in the midst of a very busy world,” Mouritsen said. “It is open to anyone who wants to walk it, and we are hoping to make it available for groups as well. We would like to welcome support groups of all sorts, and we’re looking to connect with the veteran community and neighbors of all faiths from all over the area.”

The labyrinth is accessible through the cemetery gate, and Mouritsen said folks are welcome there any time.

Perrotta said that once you’ve walked a labyrinth, you’re apt to return. “There’s no right or wrong way to walk it. It can be very spiritual or just relaxing and meditative,” Perrotta said. “You don’t feel the same way every time you walk it. It all depends on where you are in your journey.”

via Morning Star labyrinth honors woman’s memory | The Charlotte Observer The Charlotte Observer.


3.19.15 … The problem with stereotypes is that they condition us to think very narrowly about not only groups of people but individuals as well … help us with our stereotypes and expectations …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Lenten Labyrinth Walks 27/40, Avondale Pesbyterian Church – Charlotte NC:  No pics today … but a great walk … A few quotes …

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

– Fred “Mr.” Rogers

March 19 Mark 7:1-23 Erika Funk Beneath this story of ritual hand washing is the literary tool of stereotyping. Mark sets up the characters to play their predictable roles: the mean and Puritanical Pharisees, the naive and teachable disciples and the radical hero Jesus.The problem with stereotypes is that they condition us to think very narrowly about not only groups of people but individuals as well. We think we “know” them. We trust them to act a certain way.

Here’s when “trust” becomes a negative. In Mark’s story the Pharisees assume they know Jesus’ motives. They trust they know who Jesus is and what his agenda is. As readers we trust that the disciples are not going to understand what’s going on and push Jesus for an explanation. Which is very helpful to us because we don’t always know what’s going on in Jesus’ mind either.

Lent might be a good time to ask ourselves what are the assumptions we make about Jesus and his agenda. When we say we trust in God – what exactly do we expect God to do or be in our minds? Can we trust God to be something other than a stereotype? Can we trust people we don’t understand to be vessels of God’s word?

Prayer: Lord, as we walk this journey to the cross with you help us with our stereotypes and expectations. Shine a light onto our hearts so we may see the ways we may not always honor you.

The Infinite Value of LifeSome people live long lives, some die very young. Is a long life better than a short life? What truly counts is not the length of our lives but their quality. Jesus was in his early thirties when he was killed. ThÈrËse de Lisieux was in her twenties when she died. Anne Frank was a teenager when she lost her life. But their short lives continue to bear fruit long after their deaths.

A long life is a blessing when it is well lived and leads to gratitude, wisdom, and sanctity. But some people can live truly full lives even when their years are few. As we see so many young people die of cancer and AIDS let us do everything possible to show our friends that, though their lives may be short, they are of infinite value.

Henri Nouwen

For further reflection …

“I praise you because I am wonderfully made… my frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” – Psalm 139: 14 – 16 (NIV)


3.18.15 … help us to see [you] more clearly … “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson …

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2015 Lenten Labyrinth Walks 26/40, The Cathedral of St. Phillips – Atlanta GA:

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered. –  Ralph Waldo Emerson.

IMG_2776   The Bradford pears trees in bloom. IMG_2774 And there are red blooms budding on another tree … what is that? IMG_2761 Later I look around the Cathedrals grounds and I see that the red trees in the back are about to burst, but the ones on Peachtree have already popped, not fully popped, but definitely out, maybe a day or two ahead of the trees in the back area. I found this helpful …

Learn more about the 50 most frequently-seen trees in Atlanta. Soon, you’ll know the common and botanical names of tree, interesting tidbits, and be able to recognize them by sight. via 50 Atlanta Trees || Trees Atlanta.

One of the things you notice when focus daily on creation is what is blooming on its own time and what is  forced. You begin to question and ponder, which is more beautiful?  And what happens when humans intervene?  I always remember hearing how at the Augusta National, the landscapers will ice the azaleas to keep them from blooming too early. As I walk, I immediately noticed  some birds chirping. And I hear the children chirping as their moms pick them up in  the carpool line at the Cathedral’s preschool. Ever since I started using the Bird Caller app,  I realize it if I hear a robins. I now recognize the robin.   I turn the app  on as soon as I hear a bird call.   If I do, robins will sing to me the whole time I am walking. Kind of fun. Always amazed at how beautiful Atlanta is in the early spring … IMG_2765 IMG_2773 IMG_2769   x    IMG_2772 IMG_2771 And then I found the weed … Lots to think about … Two things from the Lenten devotionals I subscribe to …  From Henri Nouwen ..

Coming Together in Poverty There are many forms of poverty:  economic poverty, physical poverty, emotional poverty, mental poverty, and spiritual poverty.  As long as we relate primarily to each other’s wealth, health, stability, intelligence, and soul strength, we cannot develop true community.  Community is not a talent show in which we dazzle the world with our combined gifts.  Community is the place where our poverty is acknowledged and accepted, not as something we have to learn to cope with as best as we can but as a true source of new life. Living community in whatever form – family, parish, twelve-step program, or intentional community – challenges us to come together at the place of our poverty,  believing that there we can reveal our richness.

From First Presbyterian Charlotte … 

Katelyn Gordon:  Prayer: Steadfast God, we are so easily tired and distracted.  So often we confuse you for something or someone else.  Help us to see you more clearly and to live more faithfully.  In Christ’s name we pray.  Amen.


1.1.14 … “”We are all children of one heavenly father, we belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny

Pope’s New Year’s Message:

“We are all children of one heavenly father, we belong to the same human family and we share a common destiny,” Francis said, speaking from his studio window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, jammed with tens of thousands of faithful, tourists and Romans.

“This brings a responsibility for each to work so that the world becomes a community of brothers who respect each other, accept each other in one’s diversity, and takes care of one another,” the pope said.

via Pope’s New Year’s Message Stresses Strength, Courage, Hope.

New Years Eve,  Dubai, record fireworks blitz,

New Years fireworks explode over Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai set a new world record for largest fireworks display, according to Guinness World Records. The show featured 400,000 pyrotechnics and spanned more than 100 kilometres 62 miles.

via New Years Eve: Dubai sets record in fireworks blitz –

Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns, When Harry Met Sally:

“Auld Lang Syne” (Scots pronunciation: [ˈɔːl(d) lɑŋˈsəin]: note “s” rather than “z”)[1] is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1788[2][3] and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294). It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to celebrate the start of the New Year at the stroke of midnight. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Boy Scout youth movement, in many countries, uses it as a close to jamborees and other functions.

via Auld Lang Syne – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

But what does it mean?

via ▶ When Harry Met Sally – Auld Lang Syne – YouTube.

Harry: “What does this song mean? My whole life, I don’t know what this song means.

“I mean, ‘Should old acquaintance be forgot’? Does that mean that we should forget old acquaintances, or does it mean if we happened to forget them, we should remember them, which is not possible because we already forgot?”

Sally: “Well, maybe it just means that we should remember that we forgot them or something. Anyway, it’s about old friends.”

And from a FB friend:

I did a wee bit o’ research, and it’s a Burns poem that refers to looking at the past with fondness in spite of not being able to remember the details, hence the reference to “acquaintance” rather than “friend”. A rather appropriate sentiment given how many followers of Burns, if not Burns himself, tend to celebrate(!).

Auld Lang Syne Comic. Re/code, LOL, sad but true:

Auld Lang Syne Comic | Re/code.

Daily Meditation, Henri Nouwen:

Expecting a SurpriseEach day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.

via Daily Meditation: January 1, 2014 | Daily Meditation by Henri Nouwen.


7.16.13 … on kindness and the MegaBus …

MegaBus, kindness:  Well, I learn a little about myself each time I ride, so I get a lot for my $1 … immediately made me think of an earlier post on kindness. From yesterday’s ride …

Well, my bus is becoming less enjoyable. This one was filled with large people who think nothing of encroaching on their neighbor’s personal space … That would be my space.

Also there was a breast-feeding mom and her little one sitting across from me. I have nothing against breast-feeding moms, but I don’t like to travel with them and their little ones. Why? They are often fussier and need to eat more often. I find it a private matter, and on a bus, there is no privacy. Cute baby.

In the end, I enjoyed my neighbor .. She is new to Charlotte and helps at risk kids. She wore me down with her kindness and we spent the last hour chatting. Yes, I feel unkind for judging.

But I am home … Door to door in 6 hours at a cost of $1 plus $2.50 for MARTA. I played 12 games of Sudoku and read a chapter of a book … I’ll keep riding the bus for now.

Here is my earlier post on kindness:

just a thought …, Henri Nouwen, Tolstoi, kindness:

Here is the great challenge: All people, whatever their color, religion, or sex, belong to humankind and are called to be kind to one another, treating one another as brothers and sisters. There is hardly a day in our lives in which we are not called to this.

via Daily Meditation: Becoming Kind.

Nothing can make our lives, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness. – Leo Tolstoy in A Calendar of Wisdom

via Nothing can make our lives, or the lives of other… • literary jukebox.

via 2.4.13 … Becoming Kind … | Dennard’s Clipping Service.

Maria Popova (@brainpicker)

6/25/13, 9:41 PM

“In the long run, the sharpest weapon of all is a kind and gentle spirit.” Anne Frank’s diary, 66 years ago today

via Dennard Lindsey Teague.


5.17.13 … very random … let’s meditate on them …

meditation, integrative medicine program: 

unlikely prescription: meditation.

“I recommend five minutes, twice a day, and then gradually increase,” said Aditi Nerurkar, a primary-care doctor and assistant medical director of the Cheng & Tsui Center for Integrative Care, which offers alternative medical treatment at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. “It’s basically the same way I prescribe medicine. I don’t start you on a high dose right away.” She recommends that patients eventually work up to about 20 minutes of meditating, twice a day, for conditions including insomnia and irritable bowel syndrome.

Integrative medicine programs including meditation are increasingly showing up at hospitals and clinics across the country. Recent research has found that meditation can lower blood pressure and help patients with chronic illness cope with pain and depression. In a study published last year, meditation sharply reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke among a group of African-Americans with heart disease.

via Doctor’s Orders: 20 Minutes of Meditation Twice a Day –

photography,  kith/kin: When great design and family antics catch your eye, capture the memories with photos that tell a story …

After you take the photo, bring it back home and make adjustments to the exposure, saturation and cropping. Read the info about your phone’s camera and practice using different settings. Use fun effects like those on Instagram. Lots of software programs and phone apps can help you make these adjustments, and many are free or low cost. Look into Pro HDR, Magic Shutter, Camera+ and other apps in your phone’s app store. GIMP has free photo retouching software, too.

via When great design and family antics catch your eye, capture the memories with photos that tell a story.

face of God, Christian community, Daily Meditation, Henri Nouwen:


The Mosaic That Shows Us the Face of God

A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself.

That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say: “I make God visible.” But others who see us together can say: “They make God visible.” Community is where humility and glory touch.

via Daily Meditation: May 3, 2013 | Daily Meditation by Henri Nouwen.

Mt. Everest, climbing, Then and Now,  National Geographic:

 A lot has changed since the world’s tallest mountain was first climbed in the 1920s, when climbers donned reindeer fur boots and rusty steel crampons. See the evolution of gear and local culture in this gallery, then learn more in The Call of Everest from National Geographic Books. Next: See Sir Edmund Hillary’s 1953 gear compared to 2012 climber Hilaree O’Neill’s.

via Everest Climbing Gear—Then and Now – National Geographic.

The Avengers, movies,  reviews, Roger Ebert:

 Avengers however do share the same time and space continuum, although in recent years, they’ve been treated in separate, single-superhero movies. One assumes the idle Avengers follow the exploits of the employed ones on the news.

“The Avengers,” much awaited by Marvel comics fans, assembles all of the Avengers in one film: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, the Black Widow and Hawkeye. This is like an all-star game, or the chef’s sampling menu at a fancy restaurant.

viaThe Avengers Movie Review & Film Summary (2012) | Roger Ebert.

scripts, voice-over commentary, Downton Abbey, Poldark, Ellen And Jim Have A Blog, Two:  Loved this and I had completely forgotten about Poldark!

It may be much of the original cast is now dead most of the principals are, but I’ve listened to and watched a DVD of the 1963 Robert Wise film of Shirley Jackson’s Haunting, where what was left of directors and writers and the cast produced intelligent insightful features and voice-over commentary — I took substantial notes on how the film was made. I suspect Poldark as a film still suffers from its original labeling as “swash-buckling soap opera,” and its not having had a widely-prestigious and single auteur type instead many directors, writers, directors. By contrast, Downton Abbey now has had at least two books The World of, The Chronicles of and the first of three projected scripts produced.

via From the Scripts and Voice-over commentary: Downton Abbey | Ellen And Jim Have A Blog, Two.



3.20.13 … my favorite verse with a twist … “Be still and acknowledge that I am God” … A Still Place in the Market …

Henri Nouwen, Psalm 46:10, know/acknowledge, Be Still, favorites, FPC 2013 PW Retreat, Kanuga :  I very much enjoy The Henri Nouwen Society’s daily meditations.  Today his service (he is deceased) focused on my favorite bible verse.  I will remember that it is important to keep a still place in the market. I am also interested in their translation and the use of the term “acknowledge” rather that “know.”

I also loved hearing the story at the FPC PW Retreat of how one woman wanted to hear Nouwen speak at Kanuga and when a snow storm came through and made it impossible for some to attend, she got a seat!  It was meant to be.

A Still Place in the Market

“Be still and acknowledge that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  These are words to take with us in our busy lives.  We may think about stillness in contrast to our noisy world.  But perhaps we can go further and keep an inner stillness even while we carry on business, teach, work in construction, make music, or organise meetings.

It is important to keep a still place in the “marketplace.”  This still place is where God can dwell and speak to us.  It also is the place from where we can speak in a healing way to all the people we meet in our busy days.  Without that still space we start spinning.  We become driven people, running all over the place without much direction.  But with that stillness God can be our gentle guide in everything we think, say, or do.

via Daily Meditation: A Still Place in the Market.

I found this online …

Henri Nouwen talked with his hands. He told stones, mostly about himself. Most of aU, I remember a story told and a story lived.

Henry told about being invited to visit The Hermitage in Russia to see Rembrandt’s “Return of the Prodigal.” Other viewers filed by at a rapid clip, but he was allowed to sit in a chair for two hours and just look. He looked at the figures in the background, the father and the broken son.

The father had both hands on the boy’s shoulders. One hand was the gnarled hand of a working man. The other, Nouwen said with a dramatic pause, was the delicate, tapered hand—”of a wotnan”! God suddenly became larger for this Catholic priest.

It was a stunning moment. Over four hundred people—power people, mostly—looked through Nouwen’s eyes and saw the feminine nature of God. People wept.

Later, as Nouwen told about the L’Arche Daybreak Community in Toronto, where he served, he told about his friend Bill, a mentally handicapped man who was in the scholar’s care.

Bill was on the stage with Henry, as was a nun from Daybreak. When Henri invited Bill to come to the microphones and speak, I remember thinking that people had come a long way to hear the Dutch scholar, not Bill.

To give Bill support, Nouwen stood next to him at the microphone. Bill was overcome by the prospect of speaking. He simply laid his head on Nouwen’s shoulder and wept.

A room filled with church leaders suddenly glimpsed the incarnate nature of true ministiy. Our work isn ‘t about liturgies that we fight over, buildings that we fight over, books of worship that we fight over, hymnals that we fight over, small bits of institutional power that we fight over, or doctrines that we are willing to kill over. Our work is to stand next to one another and provide a shoulder for weeping.

via The Wayward, Wanton, and Wasteful Daughter | Reformed Worship.

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