Happy New Year and Thank You!

Many thanks to Brynn, Ray and this beautiful and compassionate community of readers and seekers for this past Advent journey. I have been deeply touched by the sharing and caring of this community during our reflection on A Spirituality of Living and A Spirituality of Homecoming. Merton once said, “There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” I hope you believe that you are ‘shining like the sun’ – that is how I think of all of you!

We are so blessed to have the gentle and wise leadership of Brynn Lawrence and Ray Glennon and it is with deep gratitude that we welcome them back for our Lenten discussion. Consideration of book titles is underway. If you have a suggestion, please contact us at: admin@henrinouwen.org.

May you have a healthy and prayerful new year!

Maureen Wright
Nouwen Legacy Manager

December 21st to 27th: Conclusions

Reading 1 (Living): The River
Reading 2 (Homecoming): Hidden Work

We have been on an incredible journey together this Advent, and we want honor each of you for engaging it so fully and with such honesty and openness.

In these final short readings Henri invites us to ponder how all that we’ve read and shared here can bear fruit.  He reminds us that the disciplines we discussed will bear fruit when we live them in surrender to God:

“There is a moment in our lives when we stand before the desert and want to do it ourselves.  But there is a voice that comes to us, ‘Let go.  Surrender.  In this parched land, I will make you fruitful.  Yes, trust me.  Give yourself to me” (p55, Living).

“So let’s wait for the Spirit to be revealed more fully to us, teaching us how to be at home in God’s home, and calling us to new forms of community and new acts of service” (p 58, Homecoming).

a) You are invited to take a moment to reflect on this discussion, and articulate what you will take away with you, and apply to your life.  Please share your “take away” with us.

Again, we are so very grateful for each of you, and the Spirit of God who has moved in and through you.  We trust that this time we have shared will indeed bear much fruit.

We also want to remember in gratitude John Mogabgab, who did such an excellent job of sharing Henri’s teaching through these books.

Each of you is warmly invited to join the Lenten book discussion – we hope to “see” you again in February.

Yours sincerely,

Ray and Brynn

December 14th to 20th: Ministry, The Reward & The Promise

Reading from Spirituality of Living: Ministry
Reading from Spirituality of Homecoming: The Reward and The Promise

This week we have another set of challenging and enriching readings, and once again this week there is a wonderful connection between the two books.  In Living we reflect on ministry and in Homecoming Henri shows us the reward and the promise in ministering to others.

1) In the reading from Spirituality of Living, Henri helps us understand, and live out, our call to ministry.  Henri reminds us that “all disciples of Jesus are called to ministry.”  But he goes on to say that “ministry is not, first of all, something that we do…” (p44).
a) Did your understanding of ministry change through this reading?  What was your previous understanding of ministry and what is your current understanding?

2) Henri talks about two disciplines of ministry:  gratitude – to help people become grateful for life even with pain, and compassion – suffering together.
a) How do you see these two disciplines fitting together?
b) Do you naturally tend towards one or the other?
c) How might one practically develop these disciplines?

3) In Homecoming Henri reminds us that the reward of following Jesus is knowing His joy, and we can live that out through celebration.  The promise we have in following Him, and ministering on His behalf, is that he will be with us always. 
a) As you reflect back on 2014, have you celebrated the joy of the life that God gives you?  Can you recall special moments that you knew were a gift from God?
b) After participating in this Advent journey, are you more aware of practicing the presence of God through prayer and service?  How can you take this into the new year?

As always, please share whatever you find meaningful, whether based on these questions, the readings, and your reflections on our journey thus far.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Ray and Brynn