I am among the multitude of broken believers who have found deep, life giving waters through the ministry of Brennan Manning. Though I was saddened to hear of his passing this past weekend (4/12/13) I rejoice that he is finally at rest in the arms of our Abba.
I wanted to share just a few thoughts on the man’s life and impact on my own. See this post for my reflections on his last book, All is Grace. Two aspects are prominent in my mind:
1) For me, he helped facilitate categories and experiences of considering and rejoicing in the unconditional love of God, especially in response to a self-hatred that has dogged me all my life. I had the opportunity to hear him live once, in a small church in Southern Indiana about 8-9 years ago. He had a pretty common script that he followed, as anyone searching through his lectures or videos can attest. Mostly his ministry came to me through his books, my favorites being Abba’s Child, Lion and Lamb, and Ragamuffin Gospel.
His favorite texts became mine. I still love to hear him read them to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the crannies of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely. (Song of Solomon 2:10-14 ESV)
But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life. (Isa 43:1-4 ESV)
2) His Abba prayer (“Abba, I belong to you”) has been a part of my regular life with God for the last 8-9 years at least. It has become as natural to me as breathing, as I breathe in saying “Abba,” and breathe out with “I belong to you.” There is gospel power in this prayer!
Thank you, Brennan, for taking the risk of letting yourself be loved by God. You paved the way for so many of us bedraggled and despairing saints to find grace at the Cross.
See his obituary here.
I finish this post with a short video clip of a familiar script from Brennan, a short summary of his message. Enjoy it, bask in the love of your Abba! Feel free to post how his ministry has impacted your life.