Sunday, December 11, 2011

Where Peace is Hidden

A wonderful Advent reflection from Henri Nouwen -

Keep your eyes on the prince of peace, the one who doesn't cling to his divine power; the one who refuses to turn stones into bread, jump from great heights and rule with great power; the one who says, "Blessed are the poor, the gentle, those who mourn, and those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; blessed are the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness" (see Matt. 5:3-11); the one who touches the lame, the crippled, and the blind; the one who speaks words of forgiveness and encouragement; the one who dies alone, rejected and despised. Keep your eyes on him who becomes poor with the poor, weak with the weak, and who is rejected with the rejected. He is the source of all peace.

Where is this peace to be found? The answer is clear. In weakness. First of all, in our own weakness, in those places of our hearts where we feel most broken, most insecure, most in agony, most afraid. Why there? Because there our familiar ways of controlling our world are being stripped away; there we are called to let go from doing much, thinking much, and relying on our self-sufficiency. Right there where we are weakest the peace which is not of this world is hidden. (Adam's Story: The Peace That Is Not Of This World, Henri J.M. Nouwen. ©The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust. First published in Weavings, March- April 1988).

Here Nouwen reminds us of our Prince who came (and comes) to us in weakness, vulnerability and need. If we want to live into this “way of Jesus,” we must find him not in our places of wisdom, strength and control; rather, we must seek him in the dirty stinky stable of our own weakness, vulnerability and need. Let’s be honest about where we are spiritually, emotionally and physically (we are bankrupt!); don’t try to hide your weakness from others this Advent season, especially not from our Prince of Peace who delights to dwell in that weakness. For if we hide from our weakness, we shall, like Adam, find ourselves in the dangerous position of hiding from God.

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