Posted in 2022 Lent Devotions

In the darkness

“Mirror of the Passion” Lent devotion for April 2, 2022. Photo by DerTobiSturmjagd on Pixabay

It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. (Luke 23:44-45).

There are many reasons why you might find yourself in the dark.

It might be nighttime. But you’re still awake. Something from your day is still haunting you. You dread what’s coming up tomorrow. Your body feels so tired, but your mind has gotten its second wind.

Perhaps the power is out. There’s no glow from all your digital clocks. Without AC, the room is stuffy. No rays of light sneak in through the blinds from the streetlights. It’s dark.

You’re in the dark. It seems like everyone else knows what’s going on. But no one told you. Did they forget? Or did they purposely leave you out?

It’s different in the dark. It’s harder to drive. You trip over the sleeping dog you didn’t see. No one can see you sitting there. Noises you don’t notice during the day seem so loud in the dark – a snoring dog, the thermostat click, or the ice cube maker.

Even though it’s noon, it’s dark at Golgotha. Is it an eclipse of the sun? Are ominous dark storm clouds blocking the sunlight? We don’t know. Darkness shrouds the passion, threatening the only real light in this world. It casts a powerful shadow over the one who announced, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). What will happen when he breathes his last? What will happen when that light goes out?

Yes, we think about that, too. What will happen when we shut our eyes for the last time? What will happen when they close the lid of our coffin? There is no darker darkness than the darkness of death. For Jesus, it’s just moments away. Maybe for us, too. You never know.

Small LED lights built into wall outlet plates come on when I turn off the lights at night. They safely guide my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. They get me past the sleeping dog and into the kitchen for a glass of water.

In much the same way, God declares, “Let there be light” in the pre-creation darkness. His promises guide me safely through the gloomy news of wars, disease, disasters, and death. His words are just like the first glow of morning in the pre-dawn sky. His voice reminds me that the darkness never lasts. The clouds part, the power comes back on, the sun rises, and the son rises.

So I can close my eyes and sleep. When it’s time, I’ll close my eyes in death. And it will be OK. Because when I open them, it will be light again.

Thanks for being in the darkness, Lord.

Posted in Lent devotions

In the dark

“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Sunday, March 28, 2021. Photo by Lucy Chian on Unsplash.

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  (Mk 15:33) 

It’s noon, but the sun isn’t beating down on you. I picture ominous clouds and a threatening darkness as three men slowly die by crucifixion on Golgotha. The passersby, chief priest and scribes have all left ahead of the storm, leaving Jesus and two robbers with a few soldiers who carry out the execution.

Dark clouds like that over my house are usually accompanied by alerts on my phone of severe thunderstorms in the area, lightning strikes, tornado warnings and instructions to seek cover. This is not the time to be outside. Golfers end their rounds early, roofers call it a day, surfers head in from the waves, lifeguards whistle everyone out of the pool, and I take the dog for a walk before the rain starts.

Continue reading “In the dark”
Posted in Christmas, grandfather

Christmas ‘ites

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 1.36.13 PMMy grandson Elijah was spending the day with me while his mom was out shopping with my wife. One of our projects that day was putting up the Christmas tree. I just knew it would be a memorable moment when I plugged in the lights and he saw them for the first time. He’s been watching and waiting for Christmas “‘ites” for weeks. I was not disappointed. His delighted “Oh-Oh” still makes me laugh out loud.

What is it about Christmas ‘ites that excites and delights people of every age? We’ll stop to look at house with simple candles in the window as well as those covered with thousands of colored bulbs. We’ll go out of our way to drive by those homes that are lit up in creative ways. We’ll climb ladders, walk roofs and wrap trees to light up our homes and yards. We’ll got for walks at night, as dark lonely streets suddenly come to life with the rhythmic blinking of strings of lights. We’ll stop and pause, on foot or in our cars, just to gaze at a brightly lit home we never really noticed before. Unsightly strings hanging from eaves take on magical shapes and designs when darkness comes and all that can be seen is the light.

Just as a starry sky on a clear cool night reminds us of that night out side of Bethlehem lit up by a multitude of the heavenly host, perhaps a simple string of lights takes us back to that earthly moment of heavenly glory. And who wouldn’t like some of that as we pray and wait for the brightness of a new day in a world where there is far too much darkness.

Posted in Grace, Life


ring_of_fireEveryone is pretty excited about the solar eclipse across the United States tomorrow. I really hope we get a chance to see it. Many of our Florida afternoons have been defined by clouds or thunderstorms. Weatherman says fifty percent chance of storms. Thanks, buddy –I guess we’ll just flip a coin.

Anyway, one of the unique features of a total solar eclipse is the chance to see the sun’s corona as the moon blocks most of the star. This got me thinking: what big things get in the way but also help us see other things more clearly?

Sometimes a disability may help us see another ability more clearly. Someone who’s blind may have an enhanced sense of smell or hearing. A power outage may interfere with your wifi connection, forcing you to discover the value of talking to the people you are with. An injury may force you to get the rest your body desperately needs. The class you wanted was filled, so you enrolled in one that you really enjoyed but never would have otherwise considered. A detour made you take a scenic route. You got fired, but found a job in a different field that you really liked. You got cut from one team, but tried another sport that you were really good at.

When something gets in your way, you may have the chance to see something you never noticed before. Be grateful for the darkness in your life that lets you see some light.