It went really quiet this afternoon at Lighthouse café so I had a few moments to put my feet up and read and be still and seek to listen to what God might be saying.
Here’s a couple of quotes from it as Nouwen reflects on the Rembrants painting that forms part of the front cover:
“I see infinite compassion, unconditional love, everlasting forgiveness- devine realities- emanating from a Father who is the creator of the universe. Here, both the human and the devine, the fragile and the powerful, the old and the eternally young are fully expressed.”
“Here is the God I want to believe in: a Father who, from the beginning of creation, has stretched out his arms in merciful blessing, never forcing himself on anyone, but always waiting; never letting his arms drop down in despair, but always hoping that his children will return so that he can speak words of love to them and let his tired arms rest on their shoulders. His desire is to bless.”
As I read this the song ‘Good Good Father’ was playing.
Here it is:
Perhaps like me you need reminding today what God is like. That he is good, like a dad who loves and loves you.
In my book Big Hearted that I co-wrote with Simon Goddard I write this from experience I had of God’s love:
I finished my street performance in the middle of Norwich on a hot summer’s day and jumped around exuberantly, slightly hot and sweaty, holding above my head the straight-jacket from which I had just escaped. It was a good show and I looked around awaiting the cheers, but on this occasion the small crowd gave polite applause more suited to a cricket match then a wild escape challenge with blaring music from Florence and The Machine. Until two ladies with a dog staggered by who shouted and cheered their hearts out and then came and sat down right in front of me. They looked somewhat wasted. I wondered what to do; then I thought the best thing would be to ask them what they thought about my show. ”What show?” said one lady. Great, they hadn’t seen any of it. They asked what I had been doing, so I quickly shared about my hope to show something of my faith and what Jesus had done in my life. I spoke about how much God loved people. “God!” cried one lady. “There is no ******* God! How can you say that there is a God? You don’t know he exists!” she snarled. We sat down together on the steps, me in my clown’s costume and these two ladies with their dog.
“Why don’t we ask God to be with us?” I asked. As soon as I said that one of the ladies looked at the other and said: “Hang on, what’s going on here? I feel … sober.” It turned out that they had both been drinking and popping pills all morning and now sat with me, the clown, experiencing clear heads. One lady quickly suggested that we pray, and hold hands to ask God to meet with us. As we held hands, one lady asked: “Can you pray in that strange language, tongues?” I said that I did and they asked if I would pray over them. Then they both bowed their heads and closed their eyes, still holding my hands; waiting. I sang a song in tongues over them and as soon as I had done that one lady looked at me and I asked what was happening. “I feel so loved,” she declared. The other lady just smiled and sat still, and then, after a while, she described the most beautiful sensation all over her. It was as if I had just witnessed a loving father scoop up his girls and hold them close. As I basked in the presence of God with these two ladies, still holding their hands, I noticed a fight break out near an art piece I was doing on the streets. So I got up and quickly introduced them to a lady who was working on the team and who came from one of the local churches. The next day I was back on the streets and I heard that the two ladies had asked Jesus into their lives and had continued experiencing his love in the most tangible way. The lady who had prayed with them spoke with me, and said, assuming I had known all along: “It was so good you prayed with those two prostitutes.”