In a dark time last year after a neo-Nazi murdered three people at Jewish facilities in Kansas City, I wrote about such darkness in part by introducing readers to Barbara Brown Taylor excellent book, Learning to Walk in the Dark.
The latest example is the book, Seeing in the Dark: Finding God’s Light in the Most Unexpected Places, by Nancy Ortberg.
Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service has done this interview with Ortberg that I commend to you today.
When Merritt asks Ortberg to define darkness, this is her initial response:
"Well a technical definition might be something like an absence of visible light. In our lives, it is our experiences of the absence of hope, connection, meaning and guidance. It is the feeling of being adrift and unmoored, unable to be tethered to God. It is a hollow and alone feeling, not knowing what to do or where to step next. Times when the pain or grief swallows you."
But she adds this:
"There can be a component to it of evil certainly, and those are the times in the Bible that talk about avoiding the darkness. There is however, another kind of darkness…a darkness that cannot, and often should not, be avoided. Think about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane or on the cross. Two of the most critical times in his life, and there he was, in the darkness, doing what most of us do, questioning and pleading. Many of the desperate people who came to Jesus were in that same place, and he meets them there."
Anyone who has spent significant time in such darkness knows it can be painful. But what these authors are asking us to imagine is that there can be healing light after a time of darkness and that if we wait patiently in the darkness, such gifts may well come. As Psalm 30 puts it, ". . .weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."
It's just that you can't get to the morning without enduring the night.
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LET'S ASK IT THIS WAY
Religion scholar and observer Mark Silk, in light of a recent court decision saying that a Colorado baker was wrong to refuse to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, asks a good question: Would the baker's religious objection be valid if, instead of a same-sex couple, it was an interracial couple? See what you think. I usually agree with Mark, and do in this case, too.