DISCIPLE MAKING

On Thresholds of Light and Darkness

Al & Mia McKay / Monday, March 23, 2020

 

We live life as a series of thresholds, different experiences that evoke a range of feelings and understandings. In the creation of our world, God established marks of separation.

And God said , “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth,”  And it was so….  And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day” (Genesis 1:14 -15, 19).

I find it fascinating that God introduced both the light and the dark into our world. 

We think— sometimes naively—that it would be a better world without darkness. On one hand, God does not have anything to do with darkness, but, of course, light is the contrast to the dark. 

As we grow, we develop a relationship with the physical darkness around us and become aware of spiritual darkness. We often wonder if any of God’s light can touch us there.  I have talked to men and women who feel extremely frustrated with their lives because a deep sense of darkness within them is manifest as loneliness, shame, and lack of self-worth: “If you really knew me you would not like me or love me.”

In his book Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom, John O’Donohue cautions us about our desire to “invade the Divine,” which he uses to refer to the sacred space around a temple, or in this case, our soul.

He writes:

“The soul is too intense and hungry; the soul stays hidden. The soul was never meant to be seen completely. It is more at home in a light that is hospitable to shadow” (p. 81).

Our reality is that we live with our shadows and struggle with how and what to reveal from our places of darkness.

O’Donohue goes on to suggest that candlelight creates a gentle welcome:

“It gently opens up caverns in the darkness and prompts the imagination into activity. The candle allows the darkness to keep its secrets. There is shadow and color within every candle flame. Candlelight perception is the most respectful and appropriate form of light with which to approach the inner world. It does not force our tormented transparency upon the mystery. Candlelight perception has the finesse and reverence appropriate to the mystery and autonomy of soul. Such perception is at home at the threshold.”

I find this hard to believe, having received admonitions to have no secrets and to “invade the Divine” regularly.  I am now much older, so I realize that I do keep some secrets and that when I search my soul, I need not take a harsh spotlight or set up a neon display.

I can travel this journey with a candle and move gently, without a robust, or violent, enthusiasm.

Years ago, my counsellor said that fear and excitement can be the head and tail of the same coin. I found it helpful to understand that my fear before batting in a baseball game was more related to excitement than to what I experience when I anticipate climbing a ladder.

I was delighted to read the Genesis account and remember that the lights in the sky’s dome were created for dividing day from night. They were to be “for signs and for seasons and for days and years.”

Light and darkness were made, then, for thresholds of time. 

As I reflect on time thresholds in my own life, I recognize that some memories are more difficult than others. Often my grief is connected to certain dates on the calendar as I remember the death of loved ones and friends. The light does not easily disperse this kind of darkness, as Mia’s recent poem suggests:

Sorrow

I slept in the sadness

All night in the dark

Awakening to morning brightness

Of a sun-kissed landscape

But the sadness persisted

 

When we deal with our deep sadnesses and grief, they can continue to transform us over many years.

This is part of our days and seasons, and even in new beginnings, when we pass through thresholds in time, we can pay attention to both the darkness and the light.

Any thoughts on the light and the dark and your thresholds of life?  Light a candle and write me a note.

 

This article was written by Al McKay, a Chaplain, in collaboration with Mia McKay. To read more articles from our Corporate Chaplains, you can visit our Chaplains Blogs. You can write Al a note through email at amckay@chaplains.ca. 

 

 

 

 


print



Singing and Living in Harmony Singing and Living in Harmony

Harmony and unity are costly, yet very worthwhile. It is SO worth it. In the long run we accomplish...
Read More..

3 Canadian Hymns 3 Canadian Hymns

Looking at the lyrics of 3 Canadian hymns, and reflecting on worship through music.  "It is no...
Read More..

A Community Living Toward Wholeness A Community Living Toward Wholeness

“Yes, I love Jesus Christ, but I don’t go to church.” Over the years, I’ve heard similar state...
Read More..

Why Canada Needs Biblical Hospitality Why Canada Needs Biblical Hospitality

Jesus demonstrated how one can balance the tension between pursuing holiness and being a friend of ...
Read More..

Hospitality in the Early Church Hospitality in the Early Church

Hospitality was one of the factors that led to the discipleship and rapid expansion of the early ch...
Read More..

Hospitality in Scripture Hospitality in Scripture

Hospitality is a powerful practice with the potential to bring restoration and revitalization to so...
Read More..

Better Together: The Story of Lazarus Better Together: The Story of Lazarus

Exploring the story of an East Side Kid & the story of Lazarus. Did Jesus believe in "Better Togeth...
Read More..

This is our Moment This is our Moment

I believe that the church is the essential service in a broken world, and this is our moment. Will ...
Read More..

Better Together Better Together

The Bible is rich with stories of people dealing with difficult circumstances. A brief review of a ...
Read More..

On Thresholds of Light and Darkness On Thresholds of Light and Darkness

We think— sometimes naively—that it would be a better world without darkness. On one hand, God does...
Read More..

Time For God? Time For God?

Encouraging fresh examinations and renewed beginnings in our relationship with the God who reveals ...
Read More..

Cristinas Story Cristina's Story

We love the stories of when God gives people new life! Here is Cristina's story...
Read More..

The Search for Meaning 2.0: Multiple Confirmations The Search for Meaning 2.0: Multiple Confirmations

Part 2.0 of The Search for Meaning. How should we pray when considering major life-changing opportu...
Read More..

Faith & Catastrophe Faith & Catastrophe

Meditations on Nature, Catastrophes & Everyday Suffering. Where do we begin to reason, those of us ...
Read More..

Shaping the Church of the Future: The Diaspora Effect Shaping the Church of the Future: The Diaspora Effect

Many of us have mixed feelings about the changes that diaspora movements have brought to the world ...
Read More..

A Story on Entitlement A Story on Entitlement

One morning in late October, while I was driving to the Outreach Canada office, a big rock chip got...
Read More..

An Epiphany Story An Epiphany Story

A story from the morning of Epiphany. Words of encouragment at the start of a new year. "On th...
Read More..

The Search for Meaning: 5 Simple Steps The Search for Meaning: 5 Simple Steps

5 Simple Steps to Search for God's Unique Purpose for your Life. How do we invite or search for a u...
Read More..

Future Hope: Things are not as they Seem Future Hope: Things are not as they Seem

It seems fitting to spend some time, standing at the beginning of a New Year full of potential and ...
Read More..

My Experience of Christs Power and Grace My Experience of Christ's Power and Grace

A Story of a New Beginning. This is Murray Moerman's story of his life and his experience of Christ...
Read More..

A Season for Peace A Season for Peace

We view Christmas as a season of peace, but does December really feel peaceful?  Jesus is refe...
Read More..

The Hope of Christmas The Hope of Christmas

I am so grateful for Christmas, for The Hope of Christmas. Not the sugar-coated, Hallmark movie kin...
Read More..

Giving Thanks: A Cure for Weariness? Giving Thanks: A Cure for Weariness?

Is there a cure for weariness in the Christian life? Christians know that they have every reason to...
Read More..

A Stone Named Ebenezer A Stone Named Ebenezer

I have this odd habit--I like to collect rocks. I find them fascinating—each one is unique and in i...
Read More..

3 Gospel Truths to Inspire Gratitude 3 Gospel Truths to Inspire Gratitude

Here are 3 truths from the gospel that inspire gratitude in me. Even though they may seem simple & ...
Read More..

Join the Story: Burundi Project Join the Story: Burundi Project

Read More..

Standing in the Gap for Burundi Standing in the Gap for Burundi

Jean de Dieu is one of the key young African leaders of his generation.  Against the odds, he has p...
Read More..

...

What is The Church when it is not Meeting Publicly?
What does the church look like when no one is attending? Do we identify the church by the location, facility, staff, programs, and services?  If our understanding of the church is tied to these things, then the church m...
Read more...
Quebec: Presenting the Gospel to the Québécois
How to present the gospel to the Québécois without unnecessary religious trappings that can hide the beauty and the winsomeness of the love of God revealed in Christ. 
Read more...
Fleshing out Two Principles for Making Disciples
How do disciple-makers model themselves after Jesus, and how do disciples identify with the first disciples? Here are four ways we can learn from Jesus and the Twelve for making disciples.
Read more...
Singing and Living in Harmony
Harmony and unity are costly, yet very worthwhile. It is SO worth it. In the long run we accomplish more together than when we get our own way and serve our own agenda.
Read more...
3 Canadian Hymns
Looking at the lyrics of 3 Canadian hymns, and reflecting on worship through music.  "It is not enough for most of us simply to hear the Word, or the sermon. If we are going to love God with our hearts as well as o...
Read more...
A Community Living Toward Wholeness
“Yes, I love Jesus Christ, but I don’t go to church.” Over the years, I’ve heard similar statements from lots of people. Asked about church, they may say, “The teaching is good, the music is great – but it’s like g...
Read more...
Why Canada Needs Biblical Hospitality
Jesus demonstrated how one can balance the tension between pursuing holiness and being a friend of sinners, and he did it through hospitality. 
Read more...
Hospitality in the Early Church
Hospitality was one of the factors that led to the discipleship and rapid expansion of the early church. The second blog in the series "Understanding Hospitality in a Western Context", this blog takes a brief look at th...
Read more...
Hospitality in Scripture
Hospitality is a powerful practice with the potential to bring restoration and revitalization to souls in need.  It is a virtue, espoused in scripture, through God’s earliest interactions with the patriarchs right throu...
Read more...
Better Together: The Story of Lazarus
Exploring the story of an East Side Kid & the story of Lazarus. Did Jesus believe in "Better Together"? 
Read more...
This is our Moment
I believe that the church is the essential service in a broken world, and this is our moment. Will we take hold of this God-ordained moment, unlike any in our lifetime, to experience God working in a creative & redempti...
Read more...
Better Together
The Bible is rich with stories of people dealing with difficult circumstances. A brief review of a few of these stories can encourage us to care for each other, stick to our principles and trust in God—no matter what. ...
Read more...
 

 

2 - 7201 72 Street Delta BC V4G 1M5