The Pastor's Buzz

Pastor Buzz Trexler's blog for God's people in The Meadow.

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Name: Buzz Trexler
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee, United States

Journalist for 29 years; married to Donna for 28 years; parent of David, 27, and Elizabeth, 24; pastor of Green Meadow United Methodist Church in Alcoa since 2002.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The space between me and thee ...

I like Henri Nouwen's writings. If I see a Nouwen book, I'm always tempted to buy it.

Oftentimes his words stay with me long after the book has returned to the shelf and will pop into my mind on occasion. That was the case after receiving an e-mail Wednesday from my former district mentor (he remains my mentor in Spirit) Richard Richter.

Richard e-mailed me Wednesday morning saying I had been on his mind recently, particularly that morning, and wanted to know what was up. That e-mail was a reminder of something I read in Nouwen's "Reaching Out: The Three Movements of Spiritual Life."

In a chapter on "Receptive Solitude," Nouwen tells the story about a former student coming to visit him.

"I have no problems this time, no questions to ask you. I do not need counsel or advice, but I simply want to celebrate some time with you," the former student said.

Nouwen writes, "We sat ont he ground facing each other and talked a little about what life had been for us in the last year, about our work, our common friends, and about the restlessness of our hearts. Then slowly as the minutes passed we became silent."

Nouwen said the silence went on for some time, then the young man said:

"It is good to be here."

"Yes, it is good to be together again," Nouwen replied.

Silence.

And then a "deep peace filled the empty space between us ..."

The man said hesitantly, "When I look at you it is as if I am in the presence of Christ."

"It is the Christ in you, who recognizes the Christ in me," Nouwen replied.

"Yes," the young man said, "He indeed is in our midst."

Then Nouwen said the former student "spoke the words which entered my soul as the most healing words I had heard in many years, 'From now on, wherever you go, or wherever I go, all the ground between us is holy ground.'

"And when he left I knew that he had revealed to me what community really means."

The community of the Holy Spirit is what told Richard I was in need of a touch ... and I know the ground between us will always be Holy Ground. It is the same Holy Ground I share with my brother in Christ John; in fact, it was John I was rushing to meet for lunch when I read Richard's e-mail.

There are regretfully few men with whom I share that sort of community in the Spirit, who seem to call or e-mail at just the right time.

But I thank God for each of them.

Grace and peace ...