Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Free Time and God

Each Lent, I read my way through Show Me the Way:  Readings for Each Day of Lent; the readings are taken from the works of Henri J. M. Nouwen.  Each year I wonder if I can possibly read anything new in this book that I've been using for a decade.  Each year, I do.

Even if I didn't, I'd still use it, because the ideas contained are so wonderful and so essential--it would be good to rediscover them each year.  But each year, something new leaps out at me. 

This morning, the reading that leapt out at me came from Letters to Marc.  The first bit has leapt out before; I know because I underlined it:

"You are probably wondering how, in imitation of Jesus, you are to find that descending way.  That's a very personal and intimate question, and in the end I don't think that anyone can answer it but you.  It's not simply a matter of renouncing your money, your possessions, your intellectual formation, or your friends or family.  . . . It has nothing to do with spiritual heroics, dramatically throwing everything overboard to 'follow' Jesus" (p. 47).

He talks about finding the descending way by discovering what the path concealed in every person's heart.  But because we rarely walk that path, it may be overgrown with weeds, which we'll need to clear out.

How do we clear them out?  By prayer.

Here's the part that spoke to me this morning:  ". . . to pray is to make free time for God" (p. 47).

I love this idea of creating more free time by praying.  Too often, we see prayer as one more thing on our to-do lists, one more obligation.  But so rarely, I'm guessing, we see it as creating more of what we crave:  unstructured time.

I also love the idea of free time with God.  I have a vision of God and me walking through a museum or deciding to go out for lunch or having a beer at the beach.

I also think of the unstructured time we've had with our nephew, which are some of the most fun times.  We have sword fights and sand castle building at the beach and ice cream outings and Lego constructions of all sorts.

I'd like more of this kind of time in my life.

I suspect God would like more of this kind of time with me.

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