The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Message of Inclusion During Divisive Times by Henri Nouwen

Henri Nouwen was an influential twentieth century theologian who had much to say about the nature of the Christian faith. The following message concerning who Jesus Christ comes for is far more inclusive than most messages you will find today on almost any given subject. This excerpt comes from his daily devotional Bread for the Journey. I highly recommend it. It is entitled The Door Open to Anyone.

Jesus is the door to a life in and with God. "I am the gate," he says (John 10:9). "I am the Way: I am Truth and Life. No one can come to the Father except through me." (John 14:6) [Steady, read on, I guarantee this is an inclusive message, no matter how that passage has been abused in the past.] Still, many people never have heard or will hear of Jesus. They are born, live their lives, and die without having been exposed to Jesus and his words. Are they lost? Is there no place in the Father's house for them?
Jesus opened the door to God's house for all people, also for those who never knew or will know that it was Jesus who opened it. The Spirit that Jesus sent "blows where it pleases" (John 3:8), and it can lead anyone through the door to God's house.
This excerpt reminds me of twentieth century British author C.S. Lewis’s description of Jesus as Aslan the Lion in his famous children’s books, The Chronicles of Narnia. Lucy, Peter, and Susan, human children from war torn Britain who have stumbled across another world called Narnia, are told by the Narnians that their ruler Aslan is a lion and not a man as the children had assumed. Susan then asks if Aslan is safe. The locals respond, "Safe? Don't you hear what the Mrs. tells you? Who said anything about being safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you." We try to box Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit in (our triune, three persons in one being God) and make them safe, at least for ourselves. However, as Henri Nouwen states rightly quotes from John 3:8, the Spirit of God blows where it pleases. Jesus chose to come to save everyone. God crosses all the little lines we draw in the sand, Jesus wipes away all our human devised ideologies and rules, and the Spirit ... the Spirit goes everywhere. That's not very safe, is it? But it's definitely good, good for us.

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