In the dark, in the light

 

‘while it is still dark’ Jan Richardson

The hours slowly past. The silence was deafening. After her Lord’s death, Mary and all those around her felt that creation had paused in inexplicable grief.

They were barely able to carry Jesus from the cross to a tomb before the Day of Preparation began. Mary was unable to perform the ritual bathing and anointing for burial and so she waited. In the silence.

At the start of the new day, before the sun began to rise, Mary ran to the tomb. It was still dark but her heart was heavy and her love great.

No one could have prepared her for the moments to come. Moments where the blur of vision before dawn caused fear, confusion and awe. Where had he gone? What was she to do?

She was brave and filled with conviction. Whatever had happened she would work to get answers. She would proclaim the truth before her. In his absence and his return, Mary remained open to God’s love however far away.

In the moments of dark-before-dawn Mary’s faith would be sealed.

While it is still dark

You hardly imagined
standing here,
everything you ever loved
suddenly returned to you,
looking you in the eye
and calling your name.
And now
you do not know
how to abide this hole
in the center
of your chest,
where a door
slams shut
and swings open
at the same time,
turning on the hinge
of your aching
and hopeful heart.
I tell you,
this is not a banishment
from the garden.
This is an invitation,
a choice,
a threshold,
a gate.
This is your life
calling to you
from a place
you could never
have dreamed,
but now that you
have glimpsed its edge,
you cannot imagine
choosing any other way.
So let the tears come
as anointing,
as consecration,
and then
let them go.
Let this blessing
gather itself around you.
Let it give you
what you will need
for this journey.
You will not remember
the words—
they do not matter.
All you need to remember
is how it sounded
when you stood
in the place of death
and heard the living
call your name.
Jan Richardson

Grateful for the dark


Darkness deserves gratitude.
It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand
that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.
JOAN CHITTISTER

And so…  in the darkness seeds safely wait for their time. In the darkness nightmares are experienced and freedom can be gained. 

Time may seem to slow where light is scarce but most new life requires the somber silence of deep night. 

This passing night bears witness to the ultimate miracle as we witness the birth of new life. New life appearing from the hold of death’s darkness. 

As dawn begins to raise her light on the distant horizon be prepared for life changing moments – where our greatest dream might swirl in the chaos of disbelief. 

Already awake and prepared to face death’s horror, the women wait for the first sign of dawn. They will follow the path to the tomb that has quietly held the body of their beloved – of God’s beloved. If there was any hint of gratitude in their hearts it may have come as they watched the last moments of their Sabbath pass. Gratitude may have sparked as they heard the first note of the morning bird’s song. 

How could they have been any more prepared? Arriving to offer their cleansing love, the darkest of night has rolled away leaving the soft light of morning to proclaim new life. 

His is risen. The Alleluia moment has arrived. Darkness did not win. No- it only served as an incubator for within it life was being reclaimed. 

The women’s duty had been redirected. They had witnessed an empty tomb and heard the Angels proclaim that He had risen. Life has overcome death and God’s good news would be spread throughout the world.  

The moment has arrived! The first notes of the morning bird proclaims this news. Christ has risen. The news will spread quickly and soon all of creation will be filled with the song of Alleluia. 

Welcome happy morning!!

(photo and quote from Network of Grateful Living)

Bright is the day

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“Bright is the day that dawns with new life, casting death’s grim shadow from the garden. Bright is the future for even the most humble soul, rising up in the arms of angels. Bright is the promise to all the Earth, sharing peace among the children of light. Let every voice sing this shining song, for we have been set free, we have been ransomed from our own history, given a chance to live again, to hope again, and to see the healing of God spread like sunlight into the rooms of time. It does not matter how you pray, this day is for you, it is the bright day, the birth day, the day when nothing will ever be the same, save the love that rolls back the stone.”

(with much gratitude for the words of Steven Charleston and the image shared by Todd Donatelli)

Easter is coming!

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How long have we waited? 40 days, 40 years… the importance of this wait begins to fade. Distracted – we lean toward the lures of this world. Then in our exhaustion we remember – there is more to living than fear of danger, the hoarding of possessions and isolation.

In the still quiet of Holy Saturday surrounded by darkness, we gather. With the host of all who came before us, we await the coming of light and life. Through the practice of a liturgy passed to us from the early moments of our faith, we gather because we know the importance of waiting. We know that waiting does not mean passive living. No, our wait is filled with acts of mercy and compassionate work.

In the dark we join together because we know there is more and our hearts long for renewal. In the songs of Alleluia we remember – Easter is coming.

Easter is coming! (a video to be shared)