Life of the Beloved

My wife Debbie gave me a Henri Nouwen book for my birthday.  The book is Life of the Beloved.  I have read several others by Nouwen and find each to be an authentic presentation of the life of faith and service.  This one is no different.  I am about two-thirds of the way through the book.  This book, written in 1992 was penned by Nouwen for his friend, Fred.  Fred challenged Henri to write to a secular audience, as Fred knew that Henri’s books have had great meaning and acceptance by Christian people, but may not have been widely read or regarded by a secular audience. Cover

Nouwen, in his gentle, caring way, has drawn me into the book and his words have been an encouragement to me to listen to my friends and neighbors and seek to find common ground with them. The primary message of Life of the Beloved is that we are all the Beloved of God.  The book is themed around the four aspects of  Jesus’ words regarding  the bread and community of table fellowship.  These are, “taken”, “blessed” “broken” and “given”.  In the account of the Last Supper (see Luke 22:19), we read of Jesus, “And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.'”

Nouwen discusses the life of the beloved in the sense that we are all taken, or as he puts it, chosen, we are blessed, we are broken and we are all to be given.  In some regard then, we are recreating in our lives the journey, commitment and service that Jesus first set forth some two thousand years ago.

I will share more as I have time to study this book and its meaning.  Stan’s sermon on Sunday had to do with Jesus interacting with a group of religious leaders  in John chapter 6.   Jesus contrasted the bread provided by God to the people of Israel in the wilderness with his own being as bread.  Manna sustained physical life but eternal life is sustained by being a partaker of Christ.  I have much more thinking and prayer to do before I can bring adequate words in response.  Help me listen and to see.

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