Some of you may recognize the name of John Mogabgab. Others will not. For those of you who did not know John, he was a long-time staff member of The Upper Room. He was the founding editor of the magazine Weavings: a Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life and author of the Henri Nouwen Spirituality Series. This was, in part, because John served as Henri Nouwen’s teaching, research, and editorial assistant at Yale Divinity School, where the two became good friends. John was also an original member of the board for The Academy for Spiritual Formation. He is credited with being the chief architect of The Academy’s two-year curriculum, from which I – and many others – have benefitted greatly.
This past Friday John Mogabgab died peacefully in the company of his wife, Marjorie, and family. He had been battling medullary thyroid cancer. (Here is a copy of his obituary.)
I did not know John well. I met him, of course, through my work with The Upper Room. The most time I spent with him was at SOULfeast 2013. John and I and a few others met for lunch one day to discuss ideas for additional books on prayer beads. That afternoon, I sat next to John during my first author signing. John had clearly done this many times before. To me and to those who wanted his autograph he offered quiet encouragement and gentle grace. I have heard many such stories from those who worked beside him and knew him well.
As with any death, John’s is two-sided. We can celebrate that John is now present with the God of Light he so loved, yet we also grieve his absence and the loss to his family, friends, coworkers, and readers.
Today’s devotion is dedicated to John, a living example of God’s peace. It is based on the following quote:
“God is closer than we think. There is no path to God that is not first God’s path to us.” – John Mogabgab
I invite you to use this time to feel how close God is to you, and to see the paths God has created to guide you into God’s deep love.
Cross: God of Light,
Resurrection bead: whose Son, Jesus Christ, revealed how close you are to us,
First cruciform bead: grant that we may feel your loving presence, and walk in the light of your path.
With each bead: use each bead to offer thanks for God’s abiding presence; to feel God’s closeness to you; to see the path God has created to draw you near to God; to experience God’s healing grace and gentle love; or to give thanks for the life of John Mogabgab.
Resurrection bead: In the name of your Son,