There is a Joy in the Journey
Lectionary, the Sixth Sunday of Easter
I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.
Jesus’ expression of “a little while” tells me that his sense of earthly time is short relative to eternity. In the little while of life we are given on this part of our journey, Christ promises to commune with us, in us, through us. If so, a question for us to ask is, What is my main task during my “little while”? I love Henri Nouwen’s answer to this question, and I want my life to speak “ditto” to his response, even if imperfectly:
I want to point to the signs of the Kingdom to come,
to speak about the first rays of the days of God,
to witness to the many manifestations of the Holy Spirit among us.
I do not want to complain about this passing world
but to focus on the eternal that lights up in the midst of the temporal.
I yearn to create space where it can be seen and celebrated.
-Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey
Each of us will find our own way to spend our days. This challenging season causes us think about all that we have busily spent our days on. Perhaps, such reflection is leading some of us to a reorientation.
If you find yourself at the edges of a deepening examen of your life, if you have desire to renew your commitments on how and on what you will spend your days, I want to encourage you to enter into that precious space of faith with open hands and confess, “Here, I am Lord.” Morning by morning.
I hope Nouwen’s instructive wisdom is as helpful to you as it has long been for me in discerning and returning to my answer to the question, What is my main task during this little while of life?
Your unique presence in your community is the way God wants you to be present to others. Different people have different ways of being present. You have to know and claim your way. That is why discernment is so important.
Once you have an inner knowledge of your true vocation, you have a point of orientation. This will help you decide what to do and what to let go of, what to say and what to remain silent about, when to go out and when to stay home, who to be with and who to avoid.
When you get exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, or run down, your body is saying that you are doing things that are none of your business. God does not require of you what is beyond your ability, what leads you away from God, or what make you depressed or sad. God wants you to live for others and to live that presence well. Doing so might include suffering, fatigue, and even moments of great physical or emotional pain, but none of this must ever pull you away from your deepest self and God.
-Nouwen,The Inner Voice of Love.
. . .
I was witness to the eternal that lights up in the midst of the painful temporal when a woman I bowed my heart with tonight prayed, “People might think I am worthless, but to You I know I am loved…” Receiving the ministry of her faith, I knew I was present where God has invited.
I pray you will live into your unique presence in your community, in your family, in our hurting world, in the Kin-dom of God here and now.
I pray we will find joy in the journey.
And invite one another along our way.
Morning by morning, day by day.