Today’s message from Henri Nouwen’s Our Daily Bread reads:
Religious leaders, priests, ministers, rabbis, and imams can be admired and revered but also hated and despised. We expect that our religious leaders will bring us closer to God through their prayers, teaching, and guidance. Therefore, we watch their behavior carefully and listen critically to their words. But precisely because we expect them, often without fully realizing it, to be superhuman, we are easily disappointed or even feel betrayed when they prove to be just as human as we are. Thus, our unmitigated admiration quickly turns into unrestrained anger.Let’s try to love our religious leaders, forgive them their faults, and see them as brothers and sisters. Then we will enable them, in their brokenness, to lead us closer to the heart of God.
To my fellow religious leaders,
May God be with you today and always. May you know the presence of God in all that you do. May you have someone near you to support you when you have let someone down or even when you feel that you have let someone down. May you not only be aware, but also able to accept, that you cannot be all things to all people. May you have the wisdom to know when you have made a mistake and the courage to acknowledge it and seek forgiveness. May you know that God’s willingness to forgive you and accept your failings is not contingent on the forgiveness or acceptance of other human beings. May your brokenness not crush you but bring you and your community closer to God. May you always know the God of mercy and kindness will be faithful to you in all things. May you take comfort knowing that God will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the dimly burning flame. God will encourage the fainthearted, those tempted to despair. God will see full justice given to all who have been wronged. God won’t be satisfied until truth and righteousness prevail throughout the earth! May you know that no matter how dry the valley of bones may seem to be, God is always breathing new life into hopeless situations. Remember that The Lord God proclaims to those dry bones: I am about to put breath in you, and you will live again. All is not lost.
Above all, my dear companions on the journey, may you always know that you are loved and that you are God’s beloved. God’s love for you is abundant and is not contingent on somebody else’s approval of you. You belong. You have a purpose!
Peace be with you all, today and always.
and on a different note…. but not entirely …
And here is my sermon from today….