Well, it finally hit the other night. This entire moment, the generational ramifications, the pain of losing work and pay for millions, my options for any retirement, the hard-earned fiscal reserves of our church over 20 years, the suffering of those both diagnosed with and those battling against the virus. Yep, I crashed and thank goodness we are isolated so no one else could see that yard sale. I need to make a rule not to read those terrible late-breaking articles past 8 PM at night. Yep. I looked straight into the darkness.
While I am so past the theological tug-of-war of binary versus non-binary Christianity (a war many of you may not have even realized was taking place), I must acknowledge the nuanced and granular nature of darkness. God creates both from nothing, and so much significant intimate encounter with God for biblical figures happens in the dark. Passover occurred in the dark. Jacob wrestling with the angelic messenger. Elijah in his cave. Jesus’ nativity, Nicodemus’ visit with Jesus, the Last Supper, His trial and burial…all in the dark. The evangelist John proudly states the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness will never overcome it! But the non-binary voice argues for darkness being integral for spiritual integration and growth. The Psalmist says, “If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light become night around me, even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to you.” (Ps. 139:11-12) Jesus’ actual resurrection occurs in the dark, the explosive salvific event for all humanity!
Some Christian (binary) voices encourage us to flee darkness and seek the light. Other Christian masters counsel us to embrace our dark selves for growth, healing and integration. And like a (fudgy) good Anglican Christian, I attempt both simultaneously! Much of Holy Week’s worship dramatically juxtaposes light and darkness, and much takes place in utter darkness. It seems this moment colludes with Holy Week to force us to encounter, confront, embrace and move through the darkness of our world, our own souls, and yet find God in the dark as well as in the light. Get those candles ready brothers and sisters!
- Everyone gets at least one good yard sale spiritually in this trying moment. Experiencing anxiety, dread, fear and confusion is probably a sign of emotional health as long as it is a moment and not a week, month or year!
- Darkness is inevitable in this life, but not isolation! One great axiom of the Christian life is to not attempt darkness alone. Please reach out for help, support and empathy from any of us as we all go together into Holy Week and into this moment of contagion.
- I think it spiritually immature and toxic to seek either light or dark all the time! This moment is a moment in our lives, and one moment only. There is always light in the darkness and after the darkness. If any of us begin to lose that crucial wisdom, we do need to seek help to navigate this moment. Please be aware and cautious during Holy Week if you see more darkness than light!