Dave Brisbin 9.12.21
With two great metaphors, Jesus shows us the effect a person has on everyone near, once they have come to see life through God’s eyes. Salt and light. As modern Westerners, salt makes no sense until we look back to see what it meant to ancient life before refrigeration and antibiotics. But light seems to make perfect sense right away. We think we know what Jesus means, which is probably worse. By thinking Jesus is only talking about the brightness and illumination, the goodness we associate with light, we’ll miss the depth of his meaning.

First, in the Genesis creation story, the earth is formless, void, and covered in darkness until God creates light on the first day. In Hebrew and Aramaic, the word translated as darkness doesn’t necessarily mean blackness, but chaos, disorder, non-functioning, unusable. God brings light: order, harmony, intelligence, support for life. The word translated as created also means to build, differentiate or allocate roles. God separates light and dark, day and night, land and water, male and female and makes them functional in supporting life. The sun is not created until day four, so harmony and functionality are primary meanings.

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Second, the darkness precedes the light, is older than the light. Curved, mysterious forces like wind and water precede the straight, ordered rays of sunlight. Each one of us must take this path if we want to follow Jesus’ Way. Enlightenment is only achieved by first descending into endarkenment, being willing to sell off whatever straight-lined, intellectual order we think we control in order to experience the mystery and disturbance of unknowing necessary for seeing truth as it really is. Like salt, light is also the ability to support life. Not just doing good things for others, but to make sense of life, give meaning, purpose, connection to life. We are this salt and light, but only if we are willing to first experience the darkness that comes before the dawn.

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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.

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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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