Holy Week, The Inner Landscape

That the Darkness May Not Overtake You

It's pouring here. It felt dark all day. Even the background on my Gmail page (I use the "Tree" setting, which reflects the weather) features dark, dark clouds. I happily sent Sam out with the dog walker this morning and tried to convince him that he really didn't want to walk in a downpour this afternoon.

It felt dark all day.

Jesus said to them, "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." After Jesus had said this, he departed and hid from them. (John 12:35-36, NRSV)

It feels dark on the inside, too. Holy Week feels heavy. The stories in the lectionary for these days feel heavy, ominous and, well, dark. 

This week has been hard for me in past years, for a variety of reasons, and I suspect I'm more inclined to go there emotionally because in my spiritual life, I'm headed to the bottom. Because it's not as simple as what the Romans did or which Jewish leaders may have colluded with them. This is about more than history. It's about a state of disconnection, a belief that we can get what we want somehow, a desire to block out our own responsibility for how screwed up the world can be. 

Jesus_scourged When "Passion of the Christ" came out, I remember feeling irritated by the personal response of people interviewed for local news stories. After seeing that horrific movie, a movie that was more about a film maker's love of gore and torture than about Jesus, a young woman said, with a sort of delighted wonder, "I had no idea he went through all that FOR ME!!!"



Humanity as a collective reacted the way humanity so often does to goodness, to God-ness: with violence and disruption and a hope that a lot of sound and fury will turn the clock back to a time when we felt like we had more control.

And whatever that thing was we controlled–market forces, votes for women, minority rights, the earth itself–whatever it was, we cheerfully plunge back into darkness because the light hurts our eyes.

"Walk while you have the light, so the darkness may not overtake you." 

The good news is, we can still perceive the light. It did not dissipate forever. In this dark, dark week, I'm trying to remember to look for its sources, that the darkness may not overtake me.

9 thoughts on “That the Darkness May Not Overtake You”

  1. thank you, songbird. i appreciate reading this tonight. timely and apropos.

  2. I never saw that movie for those very reasons. People used it somehow as a barometer for their fervor, and I found it over the top (the clips I did see).

  3. Oh Songbird. I am so deep in darkness of spirit, despite the sun and warm temps here…really struggling. Some days/weeks it’s more of challenge to live in faith than other days/week. Praying for you and the darkness.

  4. Terri, for you, too. I’m pretty sure we need this cycle of darkness and the joy that comes later in the Resurrection. But that doesn’t make it any easier to walk in the dark.

  5. Despite the bright sunshine here, it’s been a dark week for tough news for several of my parishoners. Many prayers that the darkness will not overcome us…

  6. without darkness would we even recognize light when it comes? I’m hoping that the darkness will be overcome again by Easter for us all?

  7. Songbird, just beautifully written, though it hurts my heart.
    And I’m totally with you on Passion of the Christ. Yikes.

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