Welcoming Darkness

Welcome darkness? Not really. I turn on as many lights as possible trying to keep darkness at bay. I add candles, spotlights, twinkling garlands and bright lighted trees to assure myselfthat the dark is not disturbing.

As a child I was more afraid. I called loudly for Mom or dad to come into the hall and turn on that light so I could walk quickly to the bathroom. I insisted on that light so passionately that my tense cry awakened a parent who got up to turn it on.

Yet as time passed as I was in my room alone, I began to watch the moon rise through the east-facing windows and branches of a tall Oregon Ash. My own tree. From branch to branch, it rose, and soon I was fast asleep. Somehow the darkness there became comfort. I listened to a program of poetry recited to “Ebbtide,” with ocean waves tumbling in and out in the background. That, too, calmed me.

I later began to realize that in a darkened room, or an old church, I felt cloistered and calm. I seek out churches to go inside, and just sit. I have walked the shadowy Grace Cathedral labyrinth when the spacious nave was lighted only by candles along the aisles. I found my way down ancient stone steps to the very dark undercroft at France’s Vezelay Abbey lighted only by tall thin orthodox candles affixed to ageless stones they had dripped over for centuries. I fell to my knees completely captivated by the summons to prayer.

image

I fall into every prayer offered in worship hungrily, my yearning to be closer to God met in the deep quiet. Darkness can enrich our search, as can the bright sun of Easter morning striking into the heart of the tomb and touching all Jesus’ friends and followers.

Yet where did they go next? Afraid, into hiding. Back into the darkness.

When those we see all around us snared in the ugliness of racism, isolation, selfishness, power plays, poverty–the angry taking from others who already have less than many–I wonder why I am not tempted to hide. Maybe I am hiding in my own time-worn ways of escaping anguish. I wonder if, walking the journey of Advent, waiting and watching for the birth of Jesus, we have forgotten that he is already walking with us without our noticing?

We may spend too many hours wishing God would do something, when God already has. That news is good. Good news brings peace to everyone who believes, and even in darkness the candles shine, reminding us that light defeats the darkness. Darkness cannot overcome it.

Be the light in the darkness. Light up in the sure and certain hope of God’s presence among us. Gathering together with our lights held high brightens us all with light we need, and Light we receive.

Welcome darkness? Not really. I turn on as many lights as possible trying to keep darkness at bay. I add candles, spotlights, twinkling garlands and bright lighted trees to assure myselfthat the dark is not disturbing.

As a child I was more afraid. I called loudly for Mom or dad to come into the hall and turn on that light so I could walk quickly to the bathroom. I insisted on that light so passionately that my tense cry awakened a parent who got up to turn it on.

Yet as time passed as I was in my room alone, I began to watch the moon rise through the east-facing windows and branches of a tall Oregon Ash. My own tree. From branch to branch, it rose, and soon I was fast asleep. Somehow the darkness there became comfort. I listened to a program of poetry recited to “Ebbtide,” with ocean waves tumbling in and out in the background. That, too, calmed me.

I later began to realize that in a darkened room, or an old church, I felt cloistered and calm. I seek out churches to go inside, and just sit. I have walked the shadowy Grace Cathedral labyrinth when the spacious nave was lighted only by candles along the aisles. I found my way down ancient stone steps to the very dark undercroft at France’s Vezelay Abbey lighted only by tall thin orthodox candles affixed to ageless stones they had dripped over for centuries. I fell to my knees completely captivated by the summons to prayer.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *