March 18th to 24th: sections 20 to 23

“Listening to Jesus together  is a very powerful way to grow closer to each other and reach a level of intimacy that no interpersonal exchange of words can bring about.” (p189)

Reading:  Sections 20 to 23, Road to Daybreak

These last four sections capture some of Henri’s experiences during a six-week trip around the world to visit with friends and family.  There are a lot of diverse experiences here, so feel free to share about whatever stood out to you / spoke to you.

1_ Henri writes “Oh, how important is discipline, community, prayer, silence, caring presence, simple listening, adoration, and deep, lasting faithful friendship.  We all want it so much, and still the powers suggesting that all of that is fantasy are enormous.  But we have to replace the battle for power with the battle to create space for the spirit” (p184).  It is probably safe to say that the temptation to battle for power comes up for every one of us who has committed to a long-term relationship (marriage, community etc).  
a) In what ways do you see the battle for power being expressed in your own words and actions day by day?
b) What are some practical ways we can choose to “battle to create space for the spirit” in our relationships instead?

2_ Towards the end of the book Henri becomes “increasingly aware of how important it is to enjoy what is given and to fully live where one is… to become present to where I am, always growing deeper in the spirit of gratitude” (p208).
a) You are invited to recognize and express your gratitude for the people and places where each of you finds yourself right now.  You might even choose to share something each day that you choose to enjoy/are grateful for.
b) How does question number two relate to question number one?

We look forward to another rich week of sharing.  Many thanks again to each of you who have been on this Lenten journey together.  Be sure to come back next week for a week of “conclusions.”


Ray and Brynn

March 11th to 17th: sections 16 to 19

“Jesus came to open my ears to another voice that says, ‘I am your God, I have molded you with my own hands, and I love what I have made.  I love you with a love that has no limits, because I love you as I am loved.  Do not run away from me'”  (p157).

Reading:  Sections 16 to 19, Road to Daybreak

Thank you to each of you – this continues to be a tender and caring group of people, calling each other to draw deeper into the heart of Jesus.  The reading for this week gives us many more opportunities to share, reflect and grow.

1_Henri shares his reflection on how many of us love Jesus, but at the same time have fears about what it will cost to follow Him fully.  Henri is very honest with his list of “I love Jesus, but…” (p147).
a) You are invited to reflect on your own list of fears that hold you back from fully surrendering to Jesus.  You might choose to share some of them:  “I love Jesus, but…”

2_ The story of Jesus calling Mary of Magdala by name touches Henri deeply (John 20:16).  “Jesus knows Mary of Magdala…He knows every part of her heart” (p165).  The realization that “the one who truly knows her truly loves her” speaks to a deep fear of his.  He elaborates Mary’s response: “You who know me so fully, come and be my master.  I do not want to keep you away from any part of myself.  I want you to touch the deepest places of my heart so that I won’t belong to anyone but you” (p165).
a) What is it like to be fully known and fully loved by the Creator of the Universe?
b) Does your heart have the same response as Mary’s?

3_ Henri writes about the miracle of multiplication of fish and bread (John 6:5-9).  This miracle happened when someone rather small gave something rather small to Jesus.  Henri sees the same miracle happening every day in L’Arche.  He concludes “the miracle of the multiplication of bread continues.  It is just a question of having an eye for it” (p171).
a) Have you seen a miracle of multiplication in your life, or around you?  Please share.
b) What “small thing” do you have the opportunity to give to Jesus today, so that He can multiply it?

As always, please do not feel bound by these questions.  There is so much in this section to reflect upon!

Yours sincerely,

Ray and Brynn

March 4th to 10th: sections 11 to 15

“Please, Lord, be with me at every moment and in every place.  Give me the strength and courage to live this season faithfully, so that, when Easter comes, I will be able to take with joy the new life which you have prepared for me” (p137)

Reading: sections 11 to 15

Thank you all for another wonderful week of sharing last week.  You will find much to reflect upon in this week’s reading as well.

1_ At the beginning of section 11, Henri talks about being present to the present.  He  quotes Rilke as describing this as living “without loss.”
a) Do you struggle with living in the present?  Are you often in the past or in the future?
b) What are the losses we experience when we are not living in the present?  Generally?  Spiritually?
c) What does the Bible say about living in the present?
d) How do we do it?

2_ Also at the beginning of section 11, Henri receives a clear “call” from the L’Arche Daybreak community.  Although this call is not “immediately attractive” Henri has a deep sense that this is God’s will and direction for his life, and so he prays for the “strength and courage to be truly obedient to Jesus, even if he calls me to where I would rather not go” (p95).   Just a few pages later we learn of his growing friendship with Nathan.  He discovers Nathan also plans to live at Daybreak in the years ahead.   Henri is “filled with gratitude and joy that God is not only calling [him] to a new country and a new community, but also offering [him] a new friendship to make it easier to follow that call (p99).
a) You are invited to share a story of a time that God was calling you somewhere you would rather not go, but as you chose to obey Him, he also provided you with a clear blessing or grace that made it easier to “follow the call.”

3_On page 113 Henri discusses with his friend Wim a struggle with a sense of meaninglessness.  “What am I doing here? Is this really our world, our people, our existence?  What is everybody so busy with?”
a) Have you had moments of similar searching, despair?  Was there an event in your life that brought this on?
b) As they continue to reflect, Henri describes this extremely painful experience as “the way to a deeper connection.”  How can we direct these painful questions in ourselves or in others to a deeper connection “with the one whose name is love, leading to a new discovery that we reborn out of love and are always called back to that love…to a new realization that God is the God of life who continues to offer us life wherever and whenever death threatens” (p114)?

4_ Throughout the book Henri shares of a deep desire to be faithful in prayer, while he constantly struggles to pray “well.”  He shares a small piece on prayer by Dom John Chapman (see page 116 and 117).
a) How does this piece also encourage you in your prayer life?

5_ As Henri is going through another emotionally hard time, he is invited to reflect on Deuteronomy 30.  He considers the opportunity we all have every single day, to choose life, and “one aspect of choosing life is choosing joy” (p138). He describes choosing joy as “the determination to let whatever takes place bring us one step closer to the God of life.”
a) What would this look like for you, in the situation you are in right now?

Looking forward to another great week!

Ray and Brynn