Week Three: Face
Caring enough to learn their story:
“More and more, the desire grows in me simply to walk around, greet people, enter their homes, sit on their doorsteps, play ball, throw water, and be known as someone who wants to live with them. It is a privilege to have the time to practice this simple ministry of presence. Still, it is not as simple as it seems. My own desire to be useful, to do something significant, or to be part of some impressive project is so strong that soon my time is taken up by meetings, conferences, study groups, and workshops that prevent me from walking the streets. It is difficult not to have plans, not to organize people around an urgent cause, and not to feel that you are working directly for social progress. But I wonder more and more if the first thing shouldn’t be to know people by name, to eat and drink with them, to listen to their stories and tell your own, and to let them know with words, handshakes, and hugs that you do not simply like them, but truly love them.” —Henri Nouwen
This week, in the place God has placed us, as we slow our pace and notice those around us, we practice what Nouwen calls this “simple ministry of presence:” learning people’s stories, listening deeply, allowing God’s blessing to us to flow through to those around us.
Resources for further reflection:
“Evangelism, Meet Soul Care,” Kimberly Penrod Pelletier: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/january-web-only/evangelism-meet-soul-care.html
This article teaches us how we can love others better through our own experiences of Christ’s love for us. As we receive God’s love and become aware of the Holy Spirit speaking to us, we learn to be aware of how God is moving in the lives of those we encounter, and are moved to help them engage with his love.
The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction, by Adam S. McHugh
This book emphasizes the importance of listening as a way of life. The author begins by focusing on how God listens to us and how learning to listen to him extends into a countercultural way of life, marked by listening to God and others.
“The Power of a Dinner Table,” David Brooks: https://nyti.ms/2edd04H
This article shares the story of one family who opened up their home and table to teenagers living in poverty. This article shows how extending a listening ear to others can be the first step to opening your life to bless others in powerful, concrete ways.
Hear Father Kevin’s sermon on Face by clicking here.