I LOVE REMBRANDT’S painting The Return of the Prodigal Son. The father holds his child, touches his child, and says, “You are my beloved. I’m not going to ask you any questions. Wherever you have gone, whatever you have done, and whatever people say about you, you’re my beloved. I hold you safe in my embrace. You can come home to me whose name is Compassionate, whose name is Love.” If we keep that in mind, we can deal with an enormous amount of success as well as an enormous amount of failure without losing our identity, because our identity is that we are the beloved. Long before our father and mother, our brothers and sisters, our teachers, our church, or anyone else touched us in a loving or a wounding way—long before we were rejected by some person or praised by somebody else—that voice was there. “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3). That love was there before we were born and will be there after we die.
—Henri J. M. Nouwen with John S. Mogabgab
A Spirituality of Living: The Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series (Upper Room Books, 2011)
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What does it mean to have your identity based on God’s love for you? Share your thoughts.
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
—Ephesians 3:18-19 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Practice seeing blessings all around you! Upper Room author Beth A. Richardson invites us to practice the Celtic way of seeing God in everyday life. Join our online community for the eCourse edition of Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Blessings.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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