Two of the books I was reading in preparation for Sunday's message are Brennan Manning's The Ragamuffin Gospel and Henri Nouwen's Life of the Beloved. Even though I read a lot from both of them, the only thing I ended up using from either one was that quote from Julian of Norwich. But both books are amazing and well worth the read. Both are liberating in their bold declaration of God's love for us. Here are a couple of quotes for you to sit with. From Brennan Manning:
The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still in the presence of the living Word and beseeching Him to help me understand with my head and heart His written Word.And from Henri Nouwen:
Aren't you, like me, hoping that some person, thing, or event will come along to give you that final feeling of inner well-being you desire? Don't you often hope: "May this book, idea, course, trip, job, country, or relationship fulfill my deepest desire? But as long as you are waiting for that mysterious moment you will go on running helter-skelter, always anxious and restless, always lustful and angry, never fully satisfied... Well, you and I don't have to kill ourselves. We are the Beloved. We are intimately loved long before our parents, teachers, spouses, children and friends loved or wounded us. That's the truth of our lives. That's the truth I want you to claim for yourself. That's the truth spoken by the voice that says, "You are my beloved."I hope you are still coming to grips with the truth that nothing can separate you from the love of God.