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The Place Where Wounds Become Openings For A New Vision (via Henri Nouwen)

There is no place where wounds and pains are absent, even in the fellowship of the church.
The Gospel enables the wounds to be openings where light breaks through, the pains a common pointer to future wholeness and joy.
This is our expectation as we gather in worship tomorrow.
Henri Nouwen writes:

It belongs to the central insight of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, that it is the call of God which forms the people of God.
A Christian community is there for a healing community not because wounds are cured and pains are alleviated, but because wounds and pains become openings or occasions for a new vision. Mutual confession then become a mutual deepening of hope, and sharing weakness becomes a reminder to one and all of the coming strength.

Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer Darton, Longman, and Todd, 1994 ed., pg 94.


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Pastoral Ministry Does Not Try To Save The Redeemed (via Henri Nouwen)

Henri Nouwen makes an important distinction about pastoral ministry.
A contemplative is able to live fully in the moment, but not be ruled by, and reacting to, the anxiety of that moment.
In that he is able to help others to look beyond their present ‘panic-stricken convulsions’ to responses that resonate with the character of the kingdom.

It is not the task of the Christian leader to go around nervously trying to redeem people, to save them at the last minute, to put them on the right track. For we are redeemed once and for all. The Christian leader is called to help others affirm this great news, and to make visible in daily events the fact that behind the dirty curtain of our painful symptoms there is something great to be seen: the face of Him in whose image we are shaped. In this way the contemplative can be a leader for a compulsive e generation because he can break though the vicious circle of immediate needs asking for immediate satisfaction. He can direct and steer their erratic energy into creative channels.

Henri Nouwen, The Wounded HealerMins, Darton, Longman, and Todd, 1994 ed., pg 44.


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Back Home Again

When I was on holidays twenty years ago or so I read a copy of Henri Nouwen’s book Return Of The Prodigal Son.
It’s a shortish monograph of Nouwen’s reflections arising from an extended viewing of the Rembrandt painting inspired by that biblical scene.
The original hangs in the The Hermitage in Russia, measuring an imposing 262 cm × 205 cm
I came home and bought a poster print of the painting that measures about 130 cm x 100 cm or so.
One thing led to another and it seemed a good idea to get the poster framed to protect my investment.
The local framing guy in Mordialloc said he had an ideal material for a suitable frame.
The frame ended up costing more than the poster, but it has given me immense pleasure for a long time.
One thing led to another and it was time to replace the glass in the frame.
Crossing off yet another of my list of things that have annoyed me / been left undone for too long, local business Framing Solutions fitted Ultra Clear glass and brought it back home again.
There is so much detail hiding in the painting for the patient and reflective viewer, and now more able to be seen.
More pleasure.