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Tag: darkness

Into this Very Darkness

Pondering the current national security debate — any moral sensibility beyond utilitarian self-interest is hard to spot. If the prophets have taught us anything, it is that armies, weapons, and foreign alliances cannot compensate for expelling God. We still have “in God we trust” on our money only because the courts have accepted the defense that it is a “theological affirmation devoid of content.” Indeed. We are not self-securing beings. God controls the pre-conditions that make possible profitable labor. Apart from his blessing, we labor under a futility curse. Heedlessness cannot defeat lawlessness — it turns us into something not worth defending and stores up judgment for ourselves and our posterity. The chaos that results from disregarding the first commandment…

Ex Nihilo

Darkness and chaos hinder God not at all. Of nothing he creates everything good. “He brought light out of darkness, not out of a lesser light; he can bring summer out of thy winter, though thou have no spring; though in the ways of fortune, or understanding, or conscience thou have been benighted until now, wintered and frozen, clouded and eclipsed, damped and benumbed, smothered and stupefied till now, God comes to thee, not as in the dawning of the day but as the sun at noon to illustrate all shadows, as the sheaves in harvest, to fill all penuries. All occasions invite his mercies, and all times his seasons.” (Donne, Christmas evening, 1624)

The Spirit Initiates

Genesis 1:2 tells us that when, “the earth was without form and void, and darkness” prevailed, that the “Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Darkness precedes light. It is, in a sense, more basic than light. And, there remains a positive side to it. We never really see the stars in the big city due to the artificial human lights that never go out. Our own lights have to be put out to really see the stars. The same is true in life. Our own lights must go out before we can see the uncreated light that is God. We have some Roman Catholic friends whose severely handicapped child loves to go to mass. She prefers dark…

Lost on the Road

“I will give you the treasures of darkness . . . .”  Isaiah 45:3 Forty years ago, my wife Linda and I had just arrived in Jamaica to teach for a year.  Our Jamaican hosts drove us around Kingston to settle legal details and purchase supplies that were unavailable where we were going.  When we stopped for traffic signals, crowds of children sometimes came up to the car with dirty rags, offering to wipe the windshield and begging money. At one of those intersections, our host noticed a little boy, not more than three years old, standing by the street light, not knowing which way to go.  His face showed fear, tears, the look of abandonment.  The flow of traffic soon…