The Dark Places

When I was a little girl, I was terribly afraid of the dark. I used to beg my parents to leave the hall light on outside my bedroom so that a shaft of light would fall across my bed from the partially open door. With the door ajar, I could also hear the reassuring sounds of their voices in conversation with each other along with the muffled prattle of the television. The light, the voices, and the mounds of stuffed animals arranged about me like some furry moat kept the darkness at bay until light from the window would signal a new day. All was well.

Tonight was the darkest night of the liturgical church calendar. We gathered for a community Good Friday service just as many other believers did in congregations around the world. The passion story was read in its entirety from John’s gospel. We sang the 22nd psalm. We journeyed through the Stations of the Cross as imaged by Food for the Poor, an ecumenical non-profit serving the marginalized in Latin America and the Caribbean. And we left our sorrows, hurts, sins, and pain at the foot of the cross. With strains of “Ah, Holy Jesus” echoing in our ears, we went silently into the night.

Yet amidst this dark night and the reality that our human brokenness would be party to the suffering and death of an innocent man, indeed of countless precious lives, the light of love is not extinguished. For even in the darkest recesses of our hearts, the love of God finds a way to shine, to seek, and to illumine us in mercy and grace.

Yes, we still have to walk into the dark places. We must open our eyes and look unflinchingly at the stench of sin and death. We must be willing to be changed by what we see. But we are not alone. The one who conquered death and darkness for all eternity journeys with us. The dark cannot quench His light.

Thanks be to God.

Photo by Glasgowamateur used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

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