March 1, 2018, 3:57 PM

Shifting the Gravity...

p42 "Jesus does not speak about a change of activities, a change in contacts, or even a change of pace. He speaks about a change of heart..." Nouwen explains that Jesus intends for us relocate our center--away from self and away from worry and away from many things and toward the One Necessary Thing. We are not to withdraw from the world or seek to escape - but rather to reorient our lives and reprioritize. Think and try to remember what it was like when you fell in love--either with someone or even with a new activity or learning. You are consumed--and drawn as if by the force of gravity toward someone or even something. Now imagine (or remember) what that is like in relation to Jesus.

p 43 "To set our hearts on the kingdom therefore means to make the life of the Spirit within and among us the center of all we think, say, or do." Here Nouwen invites us consider or reconsider how everything that happens in our lives has relation to the Holy Spirit. That is--there is nothing apart from the presence and power of the love and purpose of God. That is a lot to take in - and especially difficult if you have had negative experiences with religion or somehow been hurt by a faith community - and as a result have pulled back or away from religion. Will we fight or flee or ignore the Spirit--or  may we live with the understanding that the Spirit is never far from us and that the Spirit of God is loving, forgiving, grace-filled, and life-affirming?

p 47 "His (Jesus') obedience means a total, fearless, listening to his loving Father. Between the Father and the Son there is only love." As Nouwen writes about the relationship between God as Father and Jesus as Son - it strikes me how wonderful this portrayal of the Trinity is! Rather than a theological abstraction or a calculated explanation - it is the essence of love shared within a community. Jesus' obedience to the Father is not acquiescence but rather the living out of trust and vulnerability with humility. 

p 50 "...listening to the Father in the intimacy of perfect love." Nouwen tell us that this is the One thing. Consider the love of a parent for her child. Consider the love of child for her father. Remember those in your life for whom their happiness and joy is your own happiness and joy--when serving or sacrificing or caring - feels like a privilege and not a burden--because of love.

I don't stop giving thanks to God for you when I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation that makes God known to you. I pray that the eyes of your heart will have enough light to see what is the hope of God's call, what is the richness of God's glorious inheritance among believers... Ephesians 1:16-18


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