Heaven is other people.

The World Council of Churches is gathering in Brazil this week. I signed up to receive news releases regarding the proceedings. One summarized a talk by a Finnish Orthodox priest, Father Heikki Huttunen. Here's a quote from the news release:

In contrasting Sartre's observation that "hell is other people" with a saying of St Seraphim of Sarov, [Huttunen] presented what became a motto for the participants. He said Seraphim regarded other people as heaven. Throughout the year and not only during the Easter period, he greeted all who came to him with the words, "Christ is risen! My joy!" Huttunen said, "We must be motivated by that insight."

Christ is risen! My joy!

Imagine that, instead of the endless how-are-you-fines that punctuate our days...

P.S. Look here for more on the WCC conference.


More than Big Ben

What do you think of when you think of London? Big Ben? Parliament? The London Mennonite Centre?

Yep, the LMC is the place where I'm hanging my hat these days. Of course, my primary hat is still hanging in Almere. In fact, I'll be spending all of March there. But then I'll be returning to London in April. For the first half of May, I'll be back in Almere. Then back to London again, and finally, back to Almere in the middle of June...

What is going on with all of this country hopping, you might ask? It's a long story. The short version is that I am currently a tourist in the Netherlands (no longer a temporary resident) and as such, I am only allowed to inhabit the country for 3 out of every 6 months. London is where I'm spending the rest of my time.

As inconvenient as it is to country-hop, I must say, it's a treat to be in London. Not the least because of the terrific community which is the Mennonite Centre. My days here are punctuated by pleasant breaks with my fellow LMC'ers: coffee time at 11 am; prayer time at 12:50 am; tea time at 4 pm; and on Mondays, community meals at 6:30 pm. The LMC is a good place to be.

The LMC is on the north side of the city, in High Gate. About once a week I get to the city center to see some sights. I'll post photos of these soon.