Saturday, September 7, 2013


And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:33-39

Our eldest daughter, when she was very young, did not like going to bed at night. She fought hard to stay awake. One night she said to us, " I love the light and I hate the dark!" She was barely three years old. The giving up on wide awake life and sinking into sleep for her was a tragedy she would not bear. It was if by giving into the darkness of sleep, she was letting go of all that was good to her. And yet, as she fought, she desperately needed the darkness, the sleep, as we all do. There can be no joyous morning without a full night of darkness, and a full night of sleep.

We read from the Gospel of Mark of Jesus' death on the cross. Darkness covered the whole land. Jesus breathed his last, crying out to God in the words of the ancient psalmist. We often read this story on Good Friday, and often turn away from the deep darkness that covers us in this story. But it is this darkness, this death, which makes all of our mornings, all of our joy possible. It is this darkness that makes both Easter and Christmas possible. It is this sacrificial death for all that makes our lives and our faith possible. It makes the morning sweet and the darkness of some days like the morning light.

Today I ask God to help me to welcome the darkness. Despite our need for control, may we be willing to enter into the dark places so that we might be restored by God. May we seek the honest depths of our distress, so that God's light might shine for us, today.

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