Lenten Devotional, April 10: By Michael Shirl

By Michael Shirl

"Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land." Matthew 27:45
"I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day." Amos 8:10

If you've ever been in West Texas, Western Oklahoma, or Eastern Colorado when a storm rolled in you will know what I mean by "the edge." It is the vivid boundary between the darkness of storm clouds and the vivid light of day. When it happens in the middle of the day, it is that much more memorable. In my imagination this is how I see this day, the day of Jesus' death. I don't envision sudden darkness. Rather, I envision darkness rolling in with the commensurate desire for the light not to leave us. Nevertheless, leave us it did and leave us it will.

Bruce Springsteen has it right; when you are at the end of your rope, there is a darkness on the edge of town. We can see it rolling toward us. It is threatening. There are times when the circumstances of our lives are overcome by the darkness. The Pascal full moon can't save us nor can the noon day sun. The darkness is real.
Lent invites us to be in the darkness; not to run from it or pretend it is not real. There is darkness and there is silence to embrace. Out of the darkness will come a great light. We know what that is like. When it happens we all grab our sunglasses because the light out of darkness is so wonderfully bright.

We mourn, as we ought, for our losses. In my imagination, the darkness of this particular day had to be the grief of God. How much we can learn from grieving in the darkness and waiting – expectantly, hopefully – for the light of a new day. So, wait and keep looking toward the horizon for the Good News of the Light of our Salvation is at hand. It is out of the darkness, even the darkness on the edge of town, that the light comes and we experience the warmth of grace.

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