Dave Brisbin 6.11.23
Can you state your spiritual journey, the whole of your search for meaning, in just one sentence? Br. Lawrence, a 17th century French monk, did just that: The presence of God is what the spiritual life is all about, and by practicing it, one becomes spiritual. Of course he was only channeling Jesus: Seek first the Kingdom, and all else is added. God is unity, oneness; kingdom is being one with God and all God has touched—being present to Presence. Both sentences are one: practice presence, get it all.

Jesus loved one sentence, one-liners. Used them to describe what it meant to practice presence: unless we become little children we can’t enter kingdom; unless we exceed the righteousness of the law; unless we are born again, sell everything we own, lose our lives, deny ourselves, we can’t experience that pure connection. All these point at letting go of rational understanding in favor of something indefinable, uncontrollable—spirit experienced like wind, the meaning of spirituality itself invisibly breathing by.

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I read an article by a long term care chaplain who over the years has sat with over five hundred people at the end of their lives. And what she learned was that “there are many instances when meaning has no truth or value or place in reality.” That a rational expression of meaning “breaks down precisely at the juncture of crisis and death.” That to simply listen, to “sit with the reality of the unknown…has plunged me into depths I cannot always fathom…caused me to see beyond words and action. There is, in truth, no separateness, for all is one, deeply and profoundly one, interdependent and grounded in oneness.”

Rational meaning breaks down, as all physical systems do, at the point of transcendence, just when we imagine we need it most. At the extremes of life, the junctures of crisis and death when meaning is most intense, it becomes inexpressible, invisible. We can assign words in retrospect, but at the moment we experience spiritual meaning, words are a distraction at best, an insult if spoken. All we can do is be present. Wordlessly present. Do that, get it all.

We can fit that in one sentence.

 

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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.

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