Listenings: Following the Movements of the Spirit

The day after Easter seems an appropriate day to launch a new study of Spiritual Formation.  And the sub-title to this book of Nouwen’s thoughts on the subject seems an appropriate way to begin the journey.

The primal activity of the Spirit is moving us from death to life.  We have just come through the season in the Christian year where that activity is most-clearly seen.  But resurrection unto life, is only the beginning.  New birth only makes us spiritual babies.  A whole world of growth and maturation awaits us.  There is Gospel after conversion.  And that’s what we will be exploring for weeks to come.

Michael Christensen and Rebecca Laird (actually husband and wife) are friends of Jeannie and mine.  We’ve known them for upwards of twenty years.  One of the fascinating aspects of their lives (among many) is their friendship with Henri Nouwen.  Their compilation of Henri’s thoughts about Spiritual Formation is not the result of objective, detached research, but rather the product of hours spent with him.

The very first sentence in the book sets the tone for the rest of it—and the tone for what we are about to explore via the book—“Henri Nouwen was a generous man” (p. 5).

He was a generous man because he believed deeply in a generous God—a God of amazing grace, Who thought of each of us as His “beloved.”

That’s the journey we are now own—a journey to live more deeply into the generosity of God—a journey to increasingly embrace and express our “belovedness.”  As we will see, this is the essence, heart, and core of the Christian spiritual life.

I invite you on this journey, and maybe you will still want others to join you on it as well.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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