Thursday, June 9, 2022

Who's in the Dark?

 In the beginning, the world was empty and dark. But the darkness was not more powerful than God who sat over the murky depths. He spoke. And Light came into the darkness. God separated the light from the darkness, and he gave them new names. The darkness, under God’s control, was called “evening,” and the light was called “day.” Every night, the world replayed the drama of God’s creation… darkness would sit upon the earth. But God placed the moon and the stars to remind us: something is coming. Flowing lightly over the mountains, the dawn’s early light would bloom into the world and tell us: God is there. And he’s in control.

Every morning in creation, God spoke, and new life sprouted into existence: birds and fish and buffalos… And every night, darkness would come, doubt would settle, questions would ponderate, and fears would rise. But in the low trickle of photons through the mist… the doubt and fear would tremble—disappear! God was here. And we never should have wondered or questioned because he gave us the moon to teach us; and he set Orion in its place to show us: there’s a star, and by it you can find your way home in the darkest of nights.

But we didn’t listen. As heaven’s calls rang in our ears singing, “Glory, glory, glory!” We let the doubt settle deeper. “Did God really say…?” So we took the fruit! And we ate it. And for us the night became darkness, and the sun lost its shine. The One who breathes life into existence, comes like a breeze in the garden, but we’ve hidden ourselves in the shade. Cursed, cursed, cursed is the bearing of life, and the work of the ground, and most of all the serpent who speaks lies in the darkness.

But that isn’t the end! On a lonely night, a man beyond the age of seeding life, and a woman too—God came to them. “Your children will be more numerous than the stars!” In the darkness, the lights shine, and there is hope! And here’s the proof: a torch and pot, they will dance through the curse of death and bear light and food to all the earth! And look: a bush. It’s alight, and it will never be consumed. And here too I will show you… though the firstborn dies in the night, my fire will guide you, descended from heaven itself. From the land of toil you go, through the waters where I set my breath, and you will become a new people. The night will not be darkness; it will be hope.

In the night I send my angel to wrestle and give you a new name. In the night I send my dreams so that you may see deliverance. In the night I use three hundred torches to rid my people of oppression. In the night I whisper, “God has heard. God has heard.” In the night, I have seen when you took what was not yours, when you grieved my heart in sin and doubt, but listen… I say, “I love.” So hear the night watchman as he stands on the gate. I am coming. I am coming. Like the dawn.

The light has come into the world! And the darkness has not overcome it! I could not even understand it! And look, here comes the conqueror—out of the night. But he conquers no longer. He submits. To the wind. And the breeze. To the breath. Of the one who breathes.

You must… be born again. God is speaking into the darkness. He has loved. And they didn’t know it wasn’t a ghost, but it was the Son—and through his trust we walked on the water, hovering over the deep. The world was dark, and the doubt crept in, and the storm would rock, but only believe… and instantly you will reach the shore. For the true light was shining in the darkness. And to those who believed, he gave the right to become children, as numerous as the stars. And here’s the proof:

In an upper room one dark night. He takes the bread and fruit. “Proclaim my death,” he says, rather than our own. And one goes out into the darkness, the serpent’s word. But he, the true light, walks in the garden. In the depths of despair, he prays. His blood drops to the thorn-filled ground… “Awake, the hour is at hand, our betrayer comes.” Are you Jesus? The one from the slums of death? “I am,” he says. The burning bush, he will not go out. One flees in terror, another cuts for blood; through the trial, doubt seeps in, and fear fills up; “My dreams are troubled!” a woman cries, but Jesus… he does not fear the dark.

So he walks. To the skull; is mounted on a tree. Darkness comes, the sun is gone, as he begins to bleed. The grave gives up its dead. Judgment. Curse. But the blood of the firstborn son gives Mary one anew. Behold! His breath spilled out, the curtain torn in two. The one who died is laid within a tomb. But evening. And morning. True day has come. And he poured out his breath, his wind, igniting new torches. Upon each of their heads he set his light, the hope for all the nations. The candles remain, his courtroom in heaven, and on that throne he made a promise: No more doubt, nor despair. No fear or failure. The serpent is cast to the darkness; the true light is coming; the dawn will shine; darkness is ending.

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