“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined”
“.... the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned"
Darkness and light are inextricably bound because we cannot experience and understand one without the other. It is easy to think of darkness as intrinsically “bad” and light as “good.” In the dark we can get lost or hurt because we cannot see our way. Darkness as “bad” or “evil” has led humankind to conscious and unconscious attitudes and action of racism throughout the centuries. Yet we know that darkness is also very soothing, even comforting, at times. We know that too much light can be harmful, blinding and burning. Though we celebrate light in Epiphany as revelation, darkness can also reveal newness and nurture growth.
The 16thcentury mystical poem, “The Dark Night,” used the metaphor of darkness to signify the soul’s journey to union with God who is ultimately unknowable. The author, St. John of the Cross, was imprisoned in solitary confinement, literally in a dark hole-like room, for being a heretic. Praying through his experience of dark despair he discovered the only light in his experience was that which burned in his soul, his longing and love for union with God. He found that darkness was a guide more certain than the brightness of the mid-day sun and led him to the joyful revelation of God’s presence, even in the dark time of his persecution.
We begin a new calendar year and a new programmatic/budget year at Plymouth with the anticipation of God’s guidance through the unknown ahead in this new year and new decade. We begin in a dark time for our country. (As I write the impeachment trial of the president is just getting underway in the Senate.) We are all longing for justice and for new ways to bridge the divisions in our land that are so destructive. We begin in the season of Epiphany which holds stars to guide us through the darkness and on unknown ways. We begin with hope and prayers for deeper union with God as God’s people and God’s beloved community named Plymouth.
May we remember that those who walk or sit in darkness – i.e. US – have already been provided with God’s great light of presence and love. No matter what comes, we belong to God and God is with us. This is the foundation of our guidance through times of darkness or light.
With you on the journey,
JOIN ME THIS SUNDAY, JANUARY 26, 2020
PLYMOUTH’S ANNUAL CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
The meeting begins just after the 11 A.M. service with a potluck lunch.
Bring your favorite main dish, salad, side dish or bread to share.
The Congregational Life Board will provide dessert!
After the meal we will hear from our lay leaders on Leadership Council
and our Senior Minister on the state of the church.
We will receive and vote after discussion on our 2020 budget
and the slate of nominations for the church boards and committees.
COME BE IN BELOVED COMMUNITY AS WE DO THE WORK OF CHURCH TOGETHER!
The 2019 Annual Report and 2020 budget can be accessed here.
The Rev. Jane Anne Ferguson, Associate Minister, is a writer, storyteller, and contributor to Feasting on the Word, a popular biblical commentary. She is also the writer of sermon-stories.com, a lectionary-based story-commentary series. Read more