American Clergy Quotes
Look, therefore, which way we will, whether at the direct Scriptural statements of death as the penalty of sin, or at the agony of the cross as a means of rescue, or at the joy of the angels of God over a rescue; we see from either that it must be a work of infinite and eternal consequence--the work of redemption.
If the bones of all those who have fallen as a prey to intemperance could be piled up it would make a vast pyramid. Who will gird himself for the journey and try with me to scale this mountain of the dead--going up miles high on human carcasses to find still other peaks far above, mountain above mountain, white with the bones of drunkards.
The person of faith, (Henri Nouwen) says, is able to see in that moment the faithful presence of God, the one who has never left us, who keeps his word. He comes and picks up those bricks from the crumbling wall and begins to fashion something new, not a wall but a concave space, where we are invited to a deeper intimacy with the ones we love and with God. It is in that greater sharing, that greater intimacy that we begin to realize that the real stability in life is not the wall of our accomplishments but the faithfulness of the ones we love and the faithfulness of God, because both reveal how rich life is in keeping a promise, in keeping one's word. There is nothing to compare with having someone keep their word to us.
The world is God's workshop; the raw materials are His; the ideals and patterns are His; our hands are "the members of Christ," our reward His recognition. Blacksmith or banker, draughtsman or doctor, painter or preacher, servant or statesman, must work as unto the Lord, not merely making a living, but devoting a life. This makes life sacramental, turning its water into wine. This is twice blessed, blessing both the worker and the work.
Whom, then, did the Master mean by the poor in spirit to whom the kingdom belongs? Not those who are rightly called "poor spirited." There ought to be no need of saying that, but there is, for some may still be found who consider crawling the Christian's proper gait. There are men who fear to call their souls their own, and if they did, they would deceive—themselves. At times such men baptize their cowardice in holy water, name it humility, and tremble.... They are not blessed. Their life is a creeping paralysis. Afraid to stand for their convictions, they end by having no convictions to stand to.