Thursday, October 26, 2006

Re-Discovering and Old Friend

I have a lot of books. I love books. My dad infected me with a love of books. There is no finer place for me to get lost than in a bookstore. When we moved from Minnesota to California, I painfully thinned my library down by 1/3, and I still filled all the shelves at church and at home. The temptation I face is to read the newest authors and stay current with the latest trends in too many areas. The result is that I neglect old friends.
This past week I rediscovered an old friend's old book: Henri Nowen's 1975 book "Reaching Out: the three movements of the spiritual life." He wrote this after leaving academia to life in a community of disable adults in Toronto called L'Arche-Daybreak Community. What made his words so powerful to me was the realization he was living out his commitment to servanthood without status and recognition.
His final chapter on "Community and Prayer" were such a powerful reminder to me, a pretty new pastor, trying to lead a church hungry to grow that "it is important to remember that the Christian community is a waiting community, that is, a community that creates not only a sense of belonging but also a sense of estrangement. In Christian community we say to each other, 'We are together, but we cannot fulfill each other.....we help each other, but we also have to remind each other that our destiny is beyond our togetherness.' The basis of the Christian community is not the family tie, or social or economic equality, or shared oppressionn or complaint, or mutual attraction....but the divine call." (p 153)
As I was writing this, a phone call came in from one of our members called telling me his wife of 57 years just died after a long bout with Alzheimers' disease and mini-strokes. They know what it means to wait in hope. He continues to wait, she is home in hope!


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