Thursday, August 21, 2014


”Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. There is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our lives. It seems that there is no such thing as a clear-cut pure joy, but that, even in the happiest moments of our existence, we sense a tinge of sadness. In every satisfaction, there is an awareness of limitations. In every success, there is the fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is the knowledge of surrounding darkness… But this intimate experience, in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death, can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to the day when our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us”…. Henri Nouwen, quoted in “The Holy Longing” by Ron Holheiser

Just the three of us last night at the rescue mission. It was the first meeting scheduled after a short break to install new hardwood flooring throughout the facility. Such fact may have accounted for the smaller number of men in attendance, maybe about ten empty chairs reducing us to twenty or so gathered for worship. No matter. The Spirit would meet us in a connection verifying the message being shared, Dave speaking on grace always “outweighed” those sins we place on God’s scales, Tony briefly addressing “approaching God in prayer”, and my own thoughts centered on a verse in Romans, stressing God’s availability to meet us in the next step. Reflecting on recent events in my own life, I talked with them of how “Christ in me” equates, at least in part, to a connection we can know “ankle-deep”, “knee-deep”, even “over-our-head”, but not always some “Yea, I say unto thee”, authoritative transferal of power wherein one dramatically “raises the dead”. More than just a place to run when trouble becomes too much for us to handle, this inner well is there to confirm His grace, His concern for us, and His love with us in all that we do. Indeed, the Gospel doesn’t stop there, providing for an “overflowing of the vessel” wherein, through us, this manifestation of the promise either creates life or connects life, making us one in Him. In this sense, it seems to me that the above quote falls short, making it seem as if, only in Heaven, can we know “perfect joy”. While this present moment might well hold all that the author suggests, yet it also possesses the possibility of knowing Him now, in all that He is, temporary, perhaps, but sufficient in convincing me that eternity started when He stepped into this old man’s existence…….

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