Sunday, December 08, 2019

8. …and the darkness did not overcome it.

Most human beings are at least a little wary of darkness. It is a survival mechanism to be afraid of the dark. Darkness can be dangerous. We can lose our way in it. It can hide predators or other dangers. It’s not surprising that it has often been a negative symbol, even though it can also be beautiful and restful too. Darkness and night are used in John’s Gospel as signs that something bad is going to happen, or that something is being hidden. Nicodemus, a prominent religious leader, comes to Jesus “by night”. He doesn’t want anyone to see that he is visiting this new and rather controversial teacher (John 3)  At the Last Supper, when Judas goes out to betray Jesus, John simply says “and it was night” (John 13.30). It is a sign to us, the readers, that the darkness of arrest, trial and crucifixion are about to descend on Jesus. Yet darkness doesn’t have the last word. Three days later, Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb where Jesus’ body has been put “while it was still dark” and finds it empty, and Jesus raised from death. God didn’t wait for the dawn to raise Jesus. It happened in the night time. God comes to us in the midst of the darkness, in the midst of our need. We may be scared of the dark, but God isn’t.

How do you feel about darkness? Are you scared of the dark, or were you at some time in your life?
Have you ever been through dark times – depression, family problems, illness? What helped/helps you in those times?
Psalm 139 says “even the darkness is not dark to you [God]; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Does it help you to know that God can work in the darkness just as well as in the light?

Switch the lights off and sit in the darkness for a while, alone or with someone else. How does it feel? Tell God what it is like to be in the dark.

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