“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”
My 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.
Everyone 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.