The Night Will Shine
by Peter Blanchard
There are some Lenten seasons which come and go without requiring much in the way of contemplation or reflection; that don’t demand that we be still. This year, entering into the darkness doesn’t seem to take much effort. The fissures laid bare in our political landscape have left us shaken. The threat of a pandemic illness has caused many to face both physical and financial worry. Many of us are experiencing what John Muir called the “cold shadows of loneliness.” So much of our world has apparently lost its moorings that “normal” has become a distant goal.
In what is believed to be the first book written by a woman in the English language, Julian of Norwich submits that all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well. This can be hard for us to imagine. The world looks grim where we live, and we understand it’s darker still beyond our borders. We feel the heaviness of our human race living in the shadow of forbidden fruit.
It is in these circumstances that the value of our faith becomes clear. In his “Screwtape Letters”, C.S. Lewis describes a senior demon writing to a junior tempter regarding the human condition: “Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
The assurance of Scripture and the support of the Church community can be helpful. Psalm 139 declares, “If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You.” The sinfulness around us and the sinfulness within us do not faze the One who watches over us.
Romans 6 tells us "Since we have been united with Him in his death, we will also be raised to life as He was." In this Lenten time of repentance and preparation we wait, not only for His resurrection, but for our own. And while waiting in the dark, it’s helpful to stay together.