I have this Henri Nouwen quote in the front of my Bible. It’s not a huge distinction, if you’ve ever seen my Bible, but it’s an important quote for me even still. Nouwen begins this quote, “In this world, love and woundedness come together.”
I wrote it in my Bible because I am prone to forget that love, that knowing and being known, requires a vulnerability, an openness, a softness, that leaves us available for tactless asides, passive-aggressive comments, unfiltered thoughts, and plain old attacks.
The task of the Christian, Nouwen says, is that when woundedness comes, rather than becoming hard and closed and bitter, we look instead to Jesus the Crucified One. We kneel at the altar rail, on Tuesday afternoon, when the church is quiet, and we look at him, hanging on the reredos behind the altar, and we recite that quote to him as a kind of prayer.
“In this world, love and woundedness come together.
And if I am willing to let the pain not make me bitter,
but prune me into a sense of my belovedness,
then I will be free like Jesus.”
It’s an important moment. Because let’s be honest, someone at a Home Group is going to say something obtuse. Or you’ve been in sweatpants all week, you drag yourself out of bed to go to church, and someone in the Parish Hall is going to make that comment about “you not being around much.” It’s 100% going to happen.
But you and I, we still choose, over and over to connect. We get up on Sunday morning, we go to Home Groups, we share in Bible Studies, we make midnight phone calls. Again and again, to connect. We make ourselves vulnerable in all of those connections, because, as a people, we have learned something from the Crucified One, a lesson about love and risk and woundedness. We have learned the value of connecting, even if loving makes us vulnerable because we are a people who so value love. There is a risk and we don’t always get it right. But the invitation of the Crucified One is to connect anyway.
So, I’m going to offer you an opportunity to connect, to be someone who so values love. This is Jo Ann’s email address:
She’s our Lay Minister for Connections and Community. Shoot her an email. “I’d like to connect.”