Dave Brisbin | 4.15.18
Between Easter and Pentecost, or more specifically, between Pesach/Passover and Shavu’ot, stretches a period of fifty days called in Hebrew sefirat ha-omer—the Counting of the Omer. Jews were told to make a grain offering on the second day of Pesach, then count each day for seven Sabbaths, add one day, and make another grain offering. Starting as celebrations of the barley and wheat harvests, Pesach and Shavu’ot respectively grew into celebrations of the physical liberation of the people from Egypt and their spiritual liberation from slave mentality at the giving of the Law. Hebrews made a distinction between the physical liberation first and the spiritual liberation that naturally followed a people living in intimate relationship with God. The counting of the omer is their structure for an interior preparation for spiritual deliverance. Jesus makes the same distinction to Nicodemus—that he must be born again in spirit before he can see God’s kingdom. 

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And though Nicodemus cannot understand such language at John 3, by John 19 he has broken through to the boldness and freedom that Jesus’ followers will also experience on Shavu’ot, Pentecost fifty days later. For us, whether we call this being born again or baptism of the spirit, we need to understand that such spiritual empowering is not passively bestowed, but actively unveiled—we must become ready to see. We are in the liturgical middle of the counting right now, and we need to find our own way to count the omer, to live as if kingdom is already present before we can become people who can see that it actually is.

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Everyone is recovering from something… Admitting this is the first step in spiritual life, because any unfinished business in our lives–trauma, unforgiveness, fear-based perceptions–fosters compulsive behavior and keeps us from connecting spiritually and emotionally.

Since we’re all recovering, we accept everyone right as they are—no expiration dates or deadlines. We don’t tell anyone what to believe or do. We present points of view that we hope will engage seekers in their own journey; help them unlearn limiting perceptions, beliefs, and compulsions; give opportunities to get involved in community, building the trust we all need to find real identity, meaning, and purpose. In other words, to engage the transforming Way of living life that Jesus called Kingdom…non-religiously understood from a first century Hebrew point of view.

 

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Embedded in the fun and laughter of each of our gatherings and events is the connection and accountability as well as the structure, discipline, and opportunity for service that authentic community is all about. We help create programs for physical support, emotional recovery, and spiritual formation that can meet any person’s needs. Such programs work at two levels: first to address a person’s physical and emotional stability—clinical, financial, relational,professional—anything that distracts from working on the second level: true spiritual formation centered around the contemplative way of life defined by an original Hebrew understanding of the message of Jesus.

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Seeing ourselves as a learning and recovery community that worships together, the focus isn’t on Sunday morning alone, but on every day of the week as we gather for worship, healing and support workshops, studies, 12 step meetings, counseling and mentoring sessions, referral services, and social events. We maintain a food pantry for those needing more support, a recovery worship gathering, and child care for those with little ones.

Our Sunday gathering starts at 10AM and our Recovery gathering on Tuesdays at 7PM. Both gatherings include worship with one of the best worship bands in the area. See our monthly calendar and our Facebook page to stay in touch with what is happening each week. You can also sign up on our elist for email enews updates.

 

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