Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Night Before The Night Before.

I find it fruitful to meditate on the days not revealed in scripture.  As Wednesday comes to a close, I consider the time that passed between the triumphal entry on Sunday and the Passover celebration Thursday night.  We are not told much about this time.  Surely they are doing the things they do.  John does indicate that Jesus continued to teach during this time.  In fact at some point between the triumphant entry and the Passover meal, Jesus was teaching about his death:
The light is with you for a little longer.  Walk while you have the light so that the darkness may not overtake you.  If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going.  While you have the light , believe in the light so that you may become children of light. (John 12: 35-36)
 Despite clear teachings about his death, the disciples do not seem to know what is coming.  They continue along: listening, learning, following, defending, praising--but not understanding the cross on the horizon.  They have the light, but do not realize that darkness is coming.  However, they continue to walk with the light while it remains.

Maybe you have had times in your life where it felt like the light of Christ was stronger than at other times.  Sometimes the Christian walk feels like a walk in the darkness--that the light we once knew (when we were children, when we were at a retreat, when we were with a special someone) has been extinguished.  And in the moments of darkness we feel as abandoned as the disciples must have felt on Friday evening and through all of Saturday.  Without the light we are all lost--wondering and unsure of where to turn, because we simply cannot see.

I believe that the Christian walk is one that goes through periods of darkness as well and periods of new dawn.  We experience cycles of triumph (like on Palm Sunday), mystery (like on Thursday), despair (like on Friday), and new life (the day of Resurrection)!

The thing is, we can only make it through the experience of darkness (like on Friday) if we take advantage of the light When the light is with us.

I used to do a lot of camping and was a staff member at a camp in Indiana for six summers.  I knew the trails there with my eyes closed.  Literally, I could carefully navigate a 1/4 mile of trail in the dead of night with no guidance but the feel of the rocks beneath my feet.  I had walked with the light while I had the light, then in the light's absence, I still had the advantage of the light for having walked with it while I could.

Jesus says that when we walk with him (the light) we become children of the light.  That we can exist in the darkness--in his apparent absence, because we will have become connected to the light.  The way to navigate Good Friday experiences is to rely on experiences of resurrection, celebration, and mystery.  So while we wait for the peak of holy week--let us remember to walk with the light while we have the chance in order to make it through the darkness that we know is coming... for when you walk in the footsteps of Christ you can expect that a cross is in your future.  

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