Letting Go of Old Hurts by Henri Nouwen

One of the hardest things in life is to let go of old hurts.  We often say, or at least think:  “What you did to me and my family, my ancestors, or my friends I cannot forget or forgive. … One day you will have to pay for it.”  Sometimes our memories are decades, even centuries, old and keep asking for revenge.

Holding people’s faults against them often creates an impenetrable wall.  But listen to Paul:  “For anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation:  the old order is gone and a new being is there to see.  It is all God’s work” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).  Indeed, we cannot let go of old hurts, but God can.  Paul says:  “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not holding anyone’s fault against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  It is God’s work, but we are God’s ministers, because the God who reconciled the world to God entrusted to us “the message of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  This message calls us to let go of old hurts in the Name of God.  It is the message our world most needs to hear.
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Prayer

“Oh Jesus, sometimes I think of prayer as a duty, but you have shown me that it is a time of renewal, peace, and refreshment. You carry my burdens for me. Thank you for opening my eyes to your goodness and restorative grace. May I be still before you and soak in your love.”

from A Eucharistic Christmas

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Returning to Love by Richard Rohr

T. S. Eliot writes, “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” (Little Gidding, Part V, “Four Quartets”). We return where we began, to the eternal embrace of Divine Love. We were formed by original blessing, but we’ve heard so often the story of “original sin” that we have to be reminded of our beginnings in beauty and union.

Rob Bell shared at CAC’s CONSPIRE event this year how the Christian Creation narrative is uniquely hopeful. The creation poem in Genesis 1 is a “confrontive story,” portraying something radically different than the common creation stories of its time; rather than “violence and destruction,” the Genesis mythos shows “overflowing joy and creativity.” Knowing we began as an expression of God’s desire for relationship allows us to trust that life is headed somewhere good, into new forms of Love making itself known, oneing all things in a whole and expanding universe. As one Pauline translation puts it “The whole of creation is standing on tip toe to see the full revelation of the children of God” (Romans 8:19).

The story ends where it begins: in life and now even in “life more abundantly” (John 10:10). This Life came from “nowhere” (creatio ex nihilo) and now has my name upon it. From death–the small dyings to the False Self and our eventual physical death–comes resurrection into our True Self, who we have been all along but have simply forgotten. As you look back on a year almost ended and forward to a year about to begin, recall the ways in which God has been inviting you to return, again and again, to Love, which is the same as returning to God.

 

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