Monday, August 16, 2004
In your eyes
I was reading Nouwen's Wounded Healer as I rode the Metro yesterday on my way to Brookland to take pictures of this.

He begins his second essay entitled "Ministry to a Rootless Generation" with the following story.

One day a young fugitive, trying to hide himself from the enemy, entered a small village. The people were kind to him and offered him a place to stay. But when the soldiers who sought the fugitive asked where he was hiding, everyone became very fearful. The soldiers threathned to burn the village and kill every man in it unless the young man were handed over to them before dawn. The people went to the minister and asked him what to do. The minister, torn between handing over the boy to the enemy or having his people killed, withdrew to this room and read his Bible, hoping to find an answer before dawn. After many hours, in the early morning his eyes fell on these words: "It is better that one man dies than that the whole peole be lost."

Then the minister closed the Bible, called the soldiers and told them where the boy was hidden. And after the soldiers led the fugitive away to be killed, there was a feast in the village because the minister had saved the lives of the people. But the minister did not celebrate. Overcome with a deep sadness, he remained in his room. That night an angel came to him, and asked, "What have you done?"

"I handed over the fugitive to the enemy."

"But don't you know that you have handed over the Messiah?"

"How could I know?" the minister replied anxiously.

"AIf, instead of reading your Bible, you had visited this young man just once and looked into his eyes, you would have known."

Now don't get me wrong: I know as well as you that a church without a Bible is a train without a track. But, a church that cannot look into the eyes of those around it is killing its Messiah.

posted by Peter at 7:59 PM
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