From the Bishop (July 25, 2006)

September 7, 2006

This excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s “The Return of the Prodigal Son” was forwarded to me recently by a long-time friend. I find it very helpful, especially in the atmosphere in which the Church presently lives.

The excerpt was originally published on “inward/outward,” a blog sponsored by Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC.

Cynicism or Joy

By Henri J. M. Nouwen

For me it is amazing to experience daily the radical difference between cynicism and joy. Cynics seek darkness wherever they go. They point always to approaching dangers, impure motives, and hidden schemes. They call trust naive, care romantic, and forgiveness sentimental. They sneer at enthusiasm, ridicule spiritual fervor, and despise charismatic behavior. They consider themselves realists who see reality for what it truly is and who are not deceived by “escapist emotions.” But in belittling God’s joy, their darkness only calls forth more darkness.

People who have come to know the joy of God do not deny the darkness, but they choose not to live in it. They claim that the light that shines in the darkness can be trusted more than the darkness itself and that a little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness. They point each other to flashes of light here and there, and remind each other that they reveal the hidden but real presence of God. They discover that there are people who heal each other’s wounds, forgive each other’s offenses, share their possessions, foster the spirit of community, celebrate the gifts they have received, and live in constant anticipation of the full manifestation of God’s glory.

Every moment of each day I have the chance to choose between cynicism and joy. Every thought I have can be cynical or joyful. Every word I speak can be cynical or joyful. Every action can be cynical or joyful. Increasingly I am aware of all these possible choices, and increasingly I discover that every choice for joy in turn reveals more joy and offers more reason to make life a true celebration.

Source: Return of the Prodigal Son


One Response to “From the Bishop (July 25, 2006)”

  1. Karen McLeod Says:

    Yes, we should give thanks when we walk in
    the light. But sometimes darkness overcomes
    us. Then, when we can’t see the light, its time
    to remember that Jesus did not promise us that
    we would always have light, but rather ensured that the darkness would not always endure. He taught us that the only way to Easter morning lies through Good Friday. When we act as he did, forgiving others, healing the sick, feeding the hungry, working to help the outcast we get to participate in sharing the Resurrection promise. That’s the good news!

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