Today is a weird Johannesburg day. Rain season is summer but it is raining big time today. We even have some thunder storms coming thru! Winter with rain. Today is our first Sabbath day in South Africa – my brother Dirk made a fire and we’re reading, thinking, sleeping and praying in front of the hearth.

I’m rereading The return of the Prodigal by Nouwen. It’s one of my favorite books. So much depth! His book is a reflection on the Father and his embrace of the Prodigal and the book is all about homecomings. He describes how important it is to discover our place in the Father’s embrace. These words really grabbed me:

I have a new vocation now. It is the vocation to speak and write from that place back into the many places of my own and other people’s restless lives. I have to kneel before the Father, put my ear against his chest and listen, without interruption, to the heartbeat of God. Then, and only then, can I say carefully and very gently what I hear. I know that I have to speak from eternity into time, from the lasting joy into the passing realities of our short existence in this world, from the house of love into the house of fear, from God’s abode into the dwellings of human beings. I am well aware of the enormity of this vocation. Still, I am confident that it is the only way for me. One could call it the ‘prophetic vision’ : looking at people and this world through the eyes of God.

Today is a good day to put my ear close to the Fathers heart and listen. To see through His eyes. I think Nouwen’s description is a wonderful defining of ministry and what it entails.