Dave Brisbin 7.25.21
What’s the most important verse in scripture? That could be endlessly debated and ultimately impossible to answer unless asked this way: what is the most important verse in scripture to you? And once it becomes personal, it most likely becomes a moving target as well. Different verses have been signatures for me, changing over time, and recently, Luke 23:34 has been persistently growing in importance: Forgive them, Father, they don’t know what they are doing.

Not particularly warm, and mildly condescending at first glance, but this tiny prayer from Jesus on the cross as he’s being tortured and executed, is huge in implication. It points to a willingness to remain fully vulnerable—undefended, open, compassionate—that under such circumstances is almost beyond belief. And it points to the real meaning of the cross itself: not appeasing an angry God with a blood sacrifice, but displaying perfect love in human form…because love is vulnerability, undefended openness in action, or it’s not love at all.

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Christians often think of Jesus as God to the exclusion of his humanity, but scripture is clear that Jesus was fully human, and Jesus tells us himself that we humans are meant to do what he has done: display perfect love through our vulnerability. But how to maintain vulnerability in the face of the attacks of another? Jesus tells us in the second part of his prayer: recognizing our shared humanity in the limiting fears, compulsions, and core beliefs on which we unconsciously act. That until we are aware enough, we literally don’t know what we are doing as we do the harm we do. In Aramaic, freedom and forgiveness are the same word. To be released is forgiveness, and to forgive is to set ourselves free of victimhood and fear. But we can’t forgive without becoming vulnerable again. Ultimate freedom is found in the vulnerability of forgiveness, which we’ll never know until we do the work awareness requires and begin to know what it is we are doing.
 

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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.

Rather than telling people what to believe or think, we model and encourage engagement in a personal and communal spiritual journey that allows people to experience their own worthiness of connection and acceptance, to find the freedom from underlying fears that brings real meaning and purpose into focus.

 

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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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