April 30, 2012
Faith is not certainty; neither is faith a comforting lie. Jesus actually died; each of us will actually die one day as well, and no faith that is really faith will try to airbrush that one. Faith is not a comforting lie.
Nor is faith an intellectual “I believe in God” — or any other kind of assent to statements about God. That’s too easy: it just remains in the head– as a former teacher of mine used to say, “massaged between the ears.” No: faith always involves commitment– the intentional engagement of the will to trust. Faith is more verb than noun, which means acting before we’re sure. If we wait to act until we’re sure, it’s not faith anymore, is it?
An Easter faith is an active trust, now– and again now, every day we begin again– an active trust that the God who gave life, can give life again. To trust resurrection is to trust that the God who created life, can re-create it.
Such a trust raises to consciousness the darkness of our lives: the shadows of pain/of shame/of grief/of sadness/of betrayal and rejection– raises them to consciousness, AND THEN FREES US FROM OUR ANXIETY ABOUT THEM. Trust frees us from the anxiety that binds. It’s only by denying the grief of Good Friday and the anxiety of Easter Saturday that they have power over us; it is by trusting the Easter Sunday God– by trusting Our Risen Lord– that the darkness is integrated with the light, and we are free to love, and praise and serve. Trusting God frees us to live.
April 18, 2012
Light and Dark: Acceptance and Integration
The great psychologist Carl Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” We don’t become any brighter by focusing exclusively on the light; we become more fully alive by integrating dark and light, by embracing that which has been rejected. Jung also thought that this is the task of the second half of life: we are to recover and re-integrate the shadow side of ourselves, to become more whole as we age. “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” To live today, in the season of Easter, is to live first through the agony of Good Friday and the anxiety of Easter Saturday. Not to deny them or to ignore them, but to live them in their dark truth: as authentic parts of the human journey.
This is the brilliance of the Christian understanding of who God is: that while any authentic spiritual path acknowledges the darkness that’s in us, we worship a God who has darkness in Him, and who in Jesus was willing to go into that darkness, and by going there to make good come from it. It was only by involving Himself in the darkness– in the suffering, in the pain, in the shame, in the death– only by involving Himself in it, that it could be transformed to serve the end, the goal, the purpose of life. “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” That’s true for God, too: God realizes the fullness of God’s divine being, by fully entering the darkness He contains. As Bonhoeffer said: “Only a suffering God can help.”
Photobucket | candle in darkness Pictures, candle in darkness Images, candle in darkness Photos – Page 2.