This is Holy Week. One of the things I find so meaningful about it is the juxtaposition of light and darkness. Tomorrow night we have our Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae service here at the church. "Tenebrae" actually means "darkness." One reason the service is so powerful for me is that as we look at the last week of Jesus' life, ending with his death on the cross, it all feels very dark. During the service we literally turn out all of the lights to remind us of this. But that is not the final word. On Easter morning we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. For the most part, it is a time of light. But, if you read John's account of the resurrection, it doesn't begin that way. John writes, "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark . . ." (John 20:1a, NIV) As the women make their way walking in the dark, the resurrection has already taken place. And the resurrection happened when it was still dark.
Author Barbara Brown Taylor has written about the value of darkness to our spiritual lives in her book Learning to Walk in the Dark - which I highly recommend to you. She writes, "Darkness is shorthand for anything that scares me - either because I am sure that I do not have the resources to survive or because I do not want to find out." But in the end, Brown says, "I learned things in the dark I could never learn in the light . . . . I need darkness as much as I need light." As counterintuitive as that may seem to us, I think that is true. So I want to invite you to experience both the darkness and the light this week through our Maundy Thursday/Tenebrae service at 7:30 p.m. and on Easter Sunday. Since reading Brown's book, I have found I actually enjoy walking in the dark much more than before. Maybe you will, too!
Prayer for Today
God, you created the day and the night. Remind us that you are present with us always - even in the dark. Help us to trust you, even when we can't see our way. We pray this is the name of the Risen Christ. Amen.