Seeds of Eternity

Our short lives on earth are sowing times. If there were no resurrection of the dead, everything we live on earth would come to nothing. How can we believe in a God who loves us unconditionally if all the joys and pains of our lives are in vain? . . . This wonderful knowledge that nothing we live in our bodies is lived in vain holds a call for us to live every  moment as a seed of eternity.

“Our Greatest Gift” – Henri Nouwen


The First Reason to Pray

We must pray not first of all because it feels good or helps, but because God loves us and wants our attention.

‘The Road to Daybreak’ – Henri Nouwen


The Seducing Voices Versus the Voice of Love

The endless seducing voices of our society “keep pulling us away from that soft gentle voice that speaks in the center of our being: ‘You are my beloved, on you my favor rests.’

Prayer is the discipline of listening to that voice of love. Jesus spent many nights in prayer listening to the voice that had spoken to him at the Jordan River. We too must pray. Without prayer we become deaf to the voice of love and become confused by the many competing voices asking for our attention.”

‘Here and Now’ – Henri Nouwen


Our True Work

“I deeply know that I have a home in Jesus, just as Jesus has a home in God. I know, too, that when I abide in Jesus I abide with him in God . . . My true spiritual work is to let myself be loved, fully and completely, and to trust that in love I will come to the fulfillment of my vocation. I keep trying to bring my wandering, restless, anxious self home, so that I can rest there in the embrace of love.”

‘Sabbatical Journey’ Henri Nouwen


Our Response to Being Loved

“The unfathomable mystery of God is that God is a lover who wants to be loved. The one who created us is waiting for our response to the love that gave us our being. God not only says, ‘You are my Beloved.’ God also asks: ‘Do you love me?’ and offers us countless chances to say ‘Yes.’ . . . The change of which I speak is the change from living a life as a painful test to prove that you deserve to be loved, to living it as an unceasing ‘Yes’ to the truth of that Belovedness.” Henri Nouwen


Reality TV and Glory

Did you ever want to be a hero? Score the winning goal? Save someone’s life? Do you still want to do something heroic? If not, why not? Don’t we all want to make a difference, to leave our mark on this world before we “shuffle off this mortal coil”? If we don’t want honour, why not? Have we lost our dream?

Let me ask you, what is this quest for recognition, this drive for honour, for meaning? It’s clear that we believe we’re created for glory. We want it. We fight for it. We work 14 hours a day for it. We go to war for it. We do whatever it takes to get some. Isn’t that why we have a phenomena called reality TV, the yearning for 15 minutes of fame?

As crass and pathetic as some of these attempts for publicity are, they highlight a fundamental truth about our nature. We were born for glory. It’s a God-given desire. We crave it at a gut-level. And we can’t eradicate it other than perhaps by depression or despair.

Our problem is not that we want too much glory, but that we don’t want enough. We want a low-grade variety. We think we could get it if we had enough talent, luck or beauty to get on American Idol or Survivor. However, the glory we were created for is so great, so exalted, that only God can give it. Jesus taught that it wasn’t wrong to seek for praise. It is wrong, he says, to seek it from others and not God alone (John 5:44).

And, of course, glory coming from God speaks to the fact that there’s an entirely different way of obtaining it. Just before Jesus journeyed to the cross to die, he spoke of his own glorification, and ours. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me” (Joh 12:23-26).

This passage gives us tremendous hope. We don’t have to have great athletic or musical ability. We don’t have to do something silly or deceitful. All we have to do is follow Jesus in laying down our lives to love the people around us in whatever practical ways we can. If we share in this “suffering” i.e. of denying our own will to tune in to others’ needs, we will surely share in Jesus’ glory (Rom. 8:16,17).