Thursday, March 10, 2011

from Nouwen

A friend gave me a Lenten devotional from the lectures of Henri JM Nouwen. I was standing in my kitchen this morning, drinking my tea and reading today's message. I was really struck by this morning's message and thought that even though it is not my own that I would share it with you to see your response.

From Fear to Love
Lenten Reflections on the Parable of the Prodigal Son

Every Child is Blessed
I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard form my Father. John 15:15

We are all blessed in our very creation, and this blessing never leaves us. Our challenge is to claim our "original blessing" as children of the One who gave it to us. We may have been wounded by what is known as original sin, but we are healed by our original blessing. The original blessing, the unconditional love of God, was present in God's mind and heart long before our conception. It touches us from before our beginnings until after our deaths. It embraces us forever. Each of us is "a blessed one." That is our primary identity.

Every time we take bread, bless it, break it, and give it, we summarize the whole movement of Divine Love. Jesus also takes (chooses) us, blesses us, breaks us with all our undeserved suffering, and gives us for others. Before we are broken we are blessed. We are not broken because of fault but because we are blessed sons and daughters, like Jesus. Our brokenness allows us to be given in solidarity with all others in the world, just as bread is broken and given to many. We constantly see Jesus doing this: he takes, he blesses, he breaks and he gives. That's what he does. Let us not forget that. Like Jesus, we also are taken, blest, broken and given, because, like Jesus, we are beloved sons and daughters from our very beginning.

The italics are mine and that's the line that really speaks to my heart. We are one. One body in Christ. When one suffers we all suffer. Really? Am I suffering with my brothers and sisters around the world? In my own neighborhood? Do I even know enough about them to suffer with them? I pray that the Lord will continue to open my eyes to see the suffering of the world that I may not only suffer with others but be motivated to action from that suffering. Action dictated by God, not me.

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