I am the Beloved

The following was inspired by a interview of Henri Nouwen by Philip Roderick, published in the book ‘Beloved’

Writing “I am….” statements about ourselves helps us see that we often define ourselves by what we do, what we have or what others say about us. The trouble is, these can change and ultimately will be all taken away. When you stop ‘doing’ what you’ve identified yourself by, for example, who are you then?

Matt.17:5 (NRSV): While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!

Mk1:11 (NRSV): – Baptism of Jesus: ‘You are my son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

Jesus resisted the temptations in the desert because he didn’t have to prove to anyone else that he was lovable / worthy. He knew he was already the beloved.  You are the Beloved. That is all that is true and constant. When we really know we are the beloved, we don’t have to run around proving it. We are able to live from a place of security, not a place of insecurity or rejection.

We screwed up our “I am …” statements and threw them into the heart. We then labeled ourselves with a new statement: “I am the beloved”.

Making the statement is one thing but we can choose whether to truly claim our belovedness; whether to live out of that place of belovedness, or not. ‘Choices are the tools of my belovedness’ Henri Nouwen. This means making daily choices in how to act, what attitude to have, how to spend our time etc.

Moses blessed the tribes of Israel before his death and had special things to say to each – Deuteronomy 33:12 (NRSV) Of Benjamin he said:
The beloved of the Lord rests in safety -the High God surrounds him all day long – the beloved rests between his shoulders. Picture yourself resting between God’s shoulders.

Reflect: How can I claim my Belovedness this week? If I did what would it mean for me? How might my life change?

Claiming and keeping your belovedness requires discipline. Help for this comes from community: ‘The Christian Community is a community of people who remind each other who they truly are – the beloved of God.’ Nouwen. So we stood in a close circle, connected to each other and receiving from God:

Fast from discontent, feast on gratitude.

Fast from worry, feast on God’s providence.

Fast from complaining, feast on appreciation.

Fast from unrelenting pressure, feast on unceasing prayer.

Fast from self concern, feast on compassion for others.

Fast from personal anxiety, feast on eternal truth.

Fast from discouragement, feast on hope.

Fast from endless noise, feast on purposeful silence.

Fast from problems that overwhelm, feast on prayer that sustains.

+++

Circle us, Lord
Circle us with the light of your presence within this dark world

Enable us to be overcomers of fear and temptation

Enable us to be victors over sin and despair

Enable us to become that which you would desire
(Silent prayer)

Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation

ALL: Circle us with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle our family within the shelter of your outstretched arms

Protect them in each moment of their daily lives

Protect them in the decisions that they face

Protect their homes and relationships
(Speak prayers / names as you wish)

Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation

ALL: Circle our families with the light of your presence

Circle us, Lord
Circle this world with the joy of your Salvation

Where there is sickness and disease bring healing

Where there is hunger and despair bring hope

Where there is torture and oppression bring release
(Name situations as you wish)

Lord of creation, Lord of Salvation

ALL: Circle this world with the light of your presence

From www.faithandworship.com:

Love

Has its source in you

Creator God

Flows from you like an ocean

into a world as unyielding

as any shoreline cliff

And like the ocean

which batters

erodes

and wears away

even the hardest stone

your love persists

finds cracks and inlets

in hardened hearts

flows inside and works a miracle.

Who would think that water

was more powerful than granite

love mightier

than the hardest heart

Thank you, Creator God

for the power of your love

+++

We eat the body of the Beloved, broken for the Beloved

We drink the blood of the Beloved, shed for the Beloved

+++

Take a line each:

For each step that we might take

Be our guide, O Lord of life

For each load that we might bear

Be our strength, O Lord of life

For each mountain we might face

Be our power, O Lord of life

For each river that might impede

Be our safety, O Lord of life

For each place where we might rest

Be our peace, O Lord of life

For each sunrise and sunset

Be our joy, O Lord of life

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