Saturday, January 23, 2010

January 24 - Abbey ten Boom

Welcome to the ten Boom cloister!

In a narrow house on a narrow street in Amsterdam, Papa ten Boom is descending the narrow stairs on his way to breakfast. As his daughter Corrie always said, you could set your watch by the habits of the watchmaker who lives over the shop the family has owned for nearly one hundred years.

Caspar ten Boom’s habits are narrow, too, but his mind and his heart are very, very broad. When the Nazis invaded his beloved country, he suggested to his friends and neighbors that they all start sewing yellow Stars of David on their clothing; that way, the Gestapo would never be able to know for sure which citizens were of Jewish descent and which were not!

Papa ten Boom’s monasticism was gracious, hospitable, professional, and God-centered from morning to night.

At precisely eight-ten each morning he appeared at the breakfast table, impeccably dressed, but wearing a suit that might have seen better days. He was finished with his private morning prayers. After breakfast, no matter the pressing business of the day, he took up the heavy family Bible and there at the table, he read to family and employees alike. His shop assistants were in attendance. While his practice would not now be considered politically correct, he only had to fire one employee from his shop in all his years of ownership.

His daughter Corrie relates that there would often be inward groans when there was much to be done and the ribbon marker opened to an especially long passage. Papa would not hurry past the reading of the Word of God, any more than he would hurry past a customer seeking a tiny service that would cost the shop more in time than the bill would cover, if ever indeed it was sent.

Corrie’s method of reading the Word may have come, in part, from Papa’s teaching. She knew the Word of God intimately, deeply, compellingly, evangelically and well enough to live out her faith in the German concentration camp at Ravensbruck, and later to travel the world, sharing the message of God's unfailing love even in that place of despair and death. She continued her work well into her eighties.

We will take a look at her “Lectio” example tomorrow, but for today, let us take up our Bibles and open to the bookmark, asking God that we might read along with His Spirit. Let’s see today what we can see as we read more slowly, making sure we have believed what we read and that it will stay with us during the day. That is the essence of “Lectio Divina.”

"Money Was Scarce, but Happiness Was Abundant"
Corrie ten Boom
photo by Kerry

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