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Dark Matter

Astrophysicists estimate that more than 80% of the universe is comprised of dark matter, the existence of which can’t be observed directly but only inferred by its effect on other types of matter. Similarly, the legal scholar Lawrence Tribe talks about the “invisible constitution,” the dark matter of our country’s founding document, its unseen structures and meanings and values and assumptions. I’ve wondered lately if 21st century American Christians – separated as we are from the world of the gospels by thousands of years and thousands of miles – have largely missed an important aspect of following Jesus. Maybe we can think of this as the “dark matter” of first century discipleship. Just like Sunday’s game represents only a small portion of the time and effort it takes to be a pro football player, what if in reading the gospels as a series of spectacular events and teachings we miss all of Jesus’s “training” — the hidden prayer, liturgy, fasting, solitude, silence, study, and meditation we call the spiritual disciplines?


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