Wednesday, November 24, 2010

True Thanksgiving

As we head into the holiday weekend, it can be a difficult time encountering family and extended family (I know nothing about this-mind you) with years of hurt and past difficulties rising to the surface as you pull into the driveway.

I was reading this passage by Henri Nouwen this morning and thought it might be a nice reflection and give purpose to the weekend should you have a moment (and I would encourage you to) to pause, read this and ask God to let you have this as your worship to him this weekend.

"We spend countless hours making up our minds about others. An unceasing exchange of opinion about people close or far away keeps us distracted and allows us to ignore the truth that we ourselves are the first ones who need a change of heart and probably the only ones whose hearts can indeed change.

We always say again: "What about him? What about her? What Jesus says to us, as he said to Peter, who always wanted to know what would happen to John, "What does it matter to you? You are the follow me." (John 21:21-22)

Imagine your having no need at all to judge anybody. Imagine your having no desire to decide whether someone is a good or bad person. Imagine your being completely free from the feeling that you have to make up your mind about the morality of someone's behavior. Imagine you could say, "I am judging no one!"

Imagine-wouldn't that be true inner freedom? The desert fathers from the fourth century said, "Judging others is a heavy burden." I have had a few moments in my life during which I felt free from all judgements about others. It felt as if a heavy burden had been taken away from me. At those moments I experienced a deep love for everyone I met, heard about, or read about. A deep solidarity with all people and a deep desire to love them broke down my inner walls and made my heart as wide as the universe...

We all have these moments if we are attentive to the movement of God's Spirit within us. They are like glimpses of heaven, glimpses of beauty and peace. It is easy to dismiss these moments as products of ours dreams or poetic imagination. But when we choose to claim them as God's way of tapping us on our shoulders and showing us the deepest truth of our existence, we can gradually step beyond our need to judge others and our inclination to evaluate everybody and everything. Then we can grow toward real inner freedom and real sanctity."
Here and Now: Living in the Spirit
pages 60-61

1 comment:

Allison said...

I wish I had read this BEFORE spending Thanksgiving with my family;)