41 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called,2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.
It appears that I really must get used to reading St Paul daily and pondering him! Today’s extract from Nouwen’s work is an interview asking about where we get our community from – what, I guess, makes us one with another in love as today’s reading puts it. He reminds us that it is a discipline – he chose L’Arche; L’Arche chose him.
I’ve never had the privilege to go to a L’Arche community like the one that Henri Nouwen lived in for most of the last ten years of his life. But I was privileged enough to know one of my fellow college students at Oxford, Linda, who took a year out after her degree to spend at a L’Arche community – first in this country and then overseas. And I was privileged to hear her speak of the sense of true community and love that L’Arche engendered between those with intellectual disabilities and those without. How wonderful to be able to bridge the gaps like this. How sad that we fail to do so all too often with people who, on the face of it, we all have more in common with.
Lord, let us look for that sense of community in all we do; seek out what we have in common and learn to either celebrate or ignore what is different. Let us recognise that we are all one in your body, a true communion of believers.
I must confess, I’m afraid, to having failed at today’s Advent Action – making a small tree to hang apples on to remind me of the temptations that I must avoid this Advent. All I can offer you instead is my picture of an apple taken for a photo challenge a couple of years back. But perhaps this is enough – my daily lunchtime apple will make me pause and think of that apple taken by Adam and where that led, and to try and not fall into the same path having been redeemed once and for all by Jesus.
Which brings us, finally, to music. Completely by chance on this day when the Advent Book Club has us thinking of apples, Archdruid Eileen of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley has been thinking the same way too. Click here to hear Adam Lay Ybounden and click through from there to read about the words and what they symbolise.