Item 1550 - Finding the friendly space

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Reference code

CA ON00389 F4-9-1-1550

Title

Finding the friendly space

Date(s)

  • June 1973 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

3 p. of textual records

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(1932-1996)

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This item is a 3 page article by Henri Nouwen entitled ‘Find the Friendly Space: Post Easter probing into the heart of worship’, published in ‘The Episcopalian” June 1973, P. 9 – 10 & 44. Nouwen opens the article by relating the story of the meeting of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus with the risen Jesus. Following the breaking of bread the two disciples recognize Jesus and return to Jerusalem with joy to tell the others. Nouwen states that this story is important because ‘it helps us realize that liturgy is hospitality’. He then goes on to say that ‘We need to look at our liturgical ministry as a way to create a friendly space’. After discussing what liturgy is not Nouwen states, ‘ liturgy is the indication of simple boundaries, a book, a table, a small piece of bread and a small cup of wine, within which the God of power and might can appear to us as…the God with us, the humble servant, the son of man. In the space created by these simple, basic human symbols, we can be touched by what is deeper that our own self-understanding and wider than our own life experience and can lift our hearts above the immediacy of our daily pains and sorrows.’ Nouwen then goes on to look at this in more detail. He concludes by drawing attention to several things: He states that ‘every liturgy must be highly flexible in terms of closeness and distance…that we especially today, should be open to a variety of liturgical celebrations’. All of this, he suggests requires ‘flexible and sensitive priests’. He reminds the reader that ‘Any celebration that does not move us outward is in constant danger of degenerating into a cozy, self-feeding, stuffy clique’.

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Published in The Episcopalian (June 1973): 8-10, 44.There is a small head shot photo, taken by Ron van den Bosch, of Nouwen on p. 10. It is from the same series of photos taken in Utrecht that appear in Album 3 and Album 11.
A revised version of parts of this article were published as Hospitality in Monastic Studies, Number 10: Easter 1974. They were further published in Nouwen, Henri, 'Reaching Out', in the second section 'From Hostility to Hospitality', published by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York, 1975.
There are staple holes on the top of each page.

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Accession Number

2000 01

Location

Box 294

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