Day 18 – Can You Drink the Cup? – Henri Nouwen

Day 18

Can You Drink the Cup?

Henri Nouwen

We say to each other: in Latin, ‘Prosit” (be well); in German, ‘Zum Wohl” (to your well-being); in Dutch, “Op je gezondheid”(to your health); in English, “Cheers”; in French, ‘A votre santi” (to your health); in Italian, ‘Alla tua salute” (to your health); in Polish, “Sto lat” (a hundred years); in Ukrainian, Wa zdorvia”(to your health); in Hebrew, Ychaim” (to life).

The best summary of all these wishes is, (I to life.” We lift the cup to life, to affirm our life together and celebrate it as a gift from God. When each of us can hold firm our own cup, with its many sorrows and joys, claiming it as our unique life, then too, can we lift it up for others to see and encourage them to lift up their lives as well. Thus, as we lift up our cup in a fearless gesture, proclaiming that we will support each other in our common journey, we create community.

Nothing is sweet or easy about community. Community is a fellowship of people who do not hide their joys and sorrows but make them visible to each other in a gesture of hope. In community we say: “Life is full of gains and losses, joys and sorrows, ups and downs-but we do not have to live it alone. We want to drink our cup together and thus celebrate the truth that the wounds of our individual lives, which seem intolerable when lived alone, become sources of healing when we live them as part of a fellowship of mutual care.”

Community is like a large mosaic. Each little piece seems so insignificant. One piece is bright red, another cold blue or dull green, another warm purple, another sharp yellow, another shining gold. Some took precious, others ordinary. Some look valuable, others worthless. Some took gaudy, others delicate. As individual stones, we can do little with them except compare them and judge their beauty and value. When, however, all these little stones are brought together in one big mosaic portraying the face of Christ, who would ever question the importance of any one of them? If one of them, even the least spectacular one, is missing, the face is incomplete. Together in the one mosaic, each little stone is indispensable and makes a unique contribution to the glory of God. That’s community~ a fellowship of little people who together make God visible in the world.

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