Friday, July 23, 2010

Bridging the Gap Between People (Henri Nouwen) - and a rambling

Another much needed gem from Nouwen. We certainly need to cross the street more often and look into people's eyes. 

Only statement I question is the last one that says "we are children of the same God". Everyone of us is certainly members of the same human family, wonderfully and fearfully created in God's own image. but I believe we are only become children of God through Christ. 

I know I probably am going against the flow of much contemporary thought but I think Christians and the Church are not really helping this fragmented world move towards a real solution if we downplay the essential message that is the core of our faith, that the whole world needs Christ. We cannot truly be family without Christ.

Listen and respect the views of others - of course! Care for others irrespective of race, sex, social status or creed - of course! 

But we cannot deny the centrality of Christ, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

John 1:5-18:

 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
 6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--
 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
 15 John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'"
 16 From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
 18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

John 14:6:

 6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

1 Corinthians 15:1-15
1 Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.
 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,
 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
 5 and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles,
 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
 9 For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them-- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.
 11 Whether, then, it was I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.
 12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.

Bridging the Gap Between People
To become neighbours is to bridge the gap between people. As long as there is distance between us and we cannot look in each other's eyes, all sorts of false ideas and images arise. We give them names, make jokes about them, cover them with our prejudices, and avoid direct contact. We think of them as enemies. We forget that they love as we love, care for their children as we care for ours, become sick and die as we do. We forget that they are our brothers and sisters and treat them as objects that can be destroyed at will.

Only when we have the courage to cross the street and look in one another's eyes can we see there that we are children of the same God and members of the same human family.

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