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



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..

Mapping the Arenas of Discipleship in the 21st Century Mapping the Arenas of Discipleship in the 21st Century

This is part of the Discipleship Project within Outreach Canada, a think tank on future possibiliti...
Read More..

Disciple Making Disciple Making

Read More..

The 4 Cs of a Transitional Leader The 4 C's of a Transitional Leader

The work of transitional ministry requires a certain type of leader. Experience and background matt...
Read More..

...

Disciple Making
Read more...
Mapping the Arenas of Discipleship in the 21st Century
This is part of the Discipleship Project within Outreach Canada, a think tank on future possibilities and opportunities within Canada. In this article, I try to map the fruitful arenas of discipleship that I believe the...
Read more...
The 4 C's of a Transitional Leader
The work of transitional ministry requires a certain type of leader. Experience and background matters but it’s more than that. So whether you’re in the trenches doing this work or looking to find someone to help a cong...
Read more...
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 pursued higher education, worked tirelessly many jobs that barely met his family’s needs, and eventually found himself le...
Read more...
Join the Story: Burundi Project
Read more...
3 Gospel Truths to Inspire Gratitude
Here are 3 truths from the gospel that inspire gratitude in me. Even though they may seem simple & straightforward, as I meditate on these ideas, my heart fills with gratitude. My hope is that as you lean into these tru...
Read more...
A Stone Named Ebenezer
I have this odd habit--I like to collect rocks. I find them fascinating—each one is unique and in its own way, interesting. I am as likely to come home from a holiday with a rock as I am with some other memento. I ...
Read more...
Giving Thanks: A Cure for Weariness?
Is there a cure for weariness in the Christian life? Christians know that they have every reason to be happy, to be joyful. Experience tells us, however, that the daily cares and pressures of everyday life have a w...
Read more...
The Hope of Christmas
I am so grateful for Christmas, for The Hope of Christmas. Not the sugar-coated, Hallmark movie kind of Christmas, where everything turns out okay in the end. Not the presents and candy canes and tinsel. Not even all th...
Read more...
A Season for Peace
We view Christmas as a season of peace, but does December really feel peaceful?  Jesus is referred to as the Prince of Peace. What does His peace look like in the midst of regular life, including the difficult time...
Read more...
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's power & grace. "I began to wonder about the purpose of life before I became aware of my need for God..."
Read more...
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 unknowns, to spend time looking at the things we're already certain of in the future. We know more about the future...
Read more...
 

 

2 - 7201 72 Street Delta BC V4G 1M5