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Friday, April 10, 2009

In Memory

"Do this in remembrance of me." Luke 22:19

I have been reading Henri Nouwen's 'Life Of The Beloved' this week. I have found in it so many expressions of the experience of my own intimacy with Jesus. In one place he says, "Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply."

Communion
I was discussing with a friend this week the "specialness" of Communion and we were struggling to find words which express adequately the uniqueness of the experience of breaking the bread and drinking from the cup.

Words like sacred and sacrament help us but only take us so far. We share in the bread and wine as instructed by Jesus, we proclaim the Lord's death and remember the awful sacrifice He made to win us as His bride. And yet it seems to be so much more than an act of obedience and remembrance.

Stillness
Perhaps it is because we so seldom spend time in such stillness before the Lord. Maybe communion is the one place where, as the word itself means, we stop long enough and quietly enough to have fellowship with God and hear Him speak His love to our hearts. As Nouwen says, we then discover a desire to stay in that place, to let that love wash over us in all it's intimacy. It seems almost as though in those sacred moments we experience the consummation of our relationship with Jesus, and it is very sweet.

Indulgence
Nouwen goes on to say, "the real work of prayer is to become silent and listen to the voice that says good things about me." Is that indulgent? Perhaps it is, but is it actually possible to "waste" time with Jesus any more than Mary's extravagance in anointing Jesus with expensive perfume was a waste? Surely we discover a wholeness in these times which then equips us to go into the world and pass on to others the love with which we have been loved, the comfort which we ourselves have received.

Prayer College Assignment
You will, no doubt, be taking communion over this Easter time. Think about how you can take the sacredness of those moments into your own times alone with the Lord. Can you cultivate a fresh stillness which enables you to hear Him speak His words of love direct to your heart? Can you, as Nouwen suggests, spend a whole hour listening to the voice that says, "I love you."

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