One of the chapters in Henri Nouwen’s book, “Turn My Dancing Into Mourning,” is titled From Holding Tight to Letting Go. He writes: “We are asked to surrender to a vision of God and God’s people greater than what we now know. We may have to release some boxes that can no longer hold the breadth of God’s truth. We may need to develop another stance toward people we spend time with every day, or pass in our commutes to the office, or see on the news. Prayer, we may find, helps us to see others as persons to be received, loved.” 1
Here is a healthy discipline. As I do my Lenten spiritual spring cleaning, what boxes do I need to toss out so that I might give myself to others and receive others with greater generosity of spirit? Who have I boxed up, perhaps quite unintentionally or carelessly, with prejudicial conclusions?
As I search God’s Word and seek holy community with all for whom Christ was crucified and resurrected, am I open to the ever-widening view of God’s grace that the Holy Spirit would bestow?
We can easily identify generosity in material matters: we see our sister hungry and we give her food. We can identify many forms of less tangible sharing: my brother is despairing and I offer him words of encouragement. But the One we follow this Lent, as he makes his way to the cross, reveals a generosity that is more than the act of giving. It is a way of being.
Holy God, make of my life an open space, ever ready to receive your Spirit and your children. Amen.
1 Henri Nouwen, Turn My Mourning Into Dancing (W Publishing Group, 2001) 39-40.