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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

234: November 5th 2020: Holy Darkness: Learning to Befriend the Dark

Reflection. 234: for November 5th 2020:

Holy Darkness: Learning to Befriend the Dark

November is the time of the year when days grow shorter and nights grow longer and darker. But this year, 2020, has seemed dark from the very beginning!

Early in the year, the Coronavirus pandemic arrived on our shores, and with it, a tsunami of wave upon wave of adversities followed: lockdowns and quarantines, closure of businesses, economic fall-outs and bankruptcies, closures and evictions. Not to mention the dark emotions of fear, anxiety, and loneliness that came as a result of all that!

Then on May 25th the televised murder of George Floyd, ripped open a 400 year old wound that awakened a nation to its history of racism, inequality and systemic injustice. Social unrest and protests, intractable political divisions, environmental disasters of fires and floods rained down upon our nation. Oh, and a presidential impeachment was in there somewhere too! Indeed, a dark time!

How does a person of faith deal with such overwhelming layers of darkness? Can our lived experiences provide clues for how we might see, hear, and feel our way through such dark times?

Come join our Emmaus liturgy this Sunday, November 8th and hear stories of how to befriend the dark; how to learn from it, rather than dismiss it or anesthetize ourselves against it. We were all conceived in the dark; darkness can be the incubating space for new life to begin. This “Holy Dark” as Matthew Fox says, has much to teach us.

So, let’s talk about it. To get us started here are two questions to reflect on before our Shared Homily on Sunday:

How do you, as a person of faith, live with, and hold both the light and dark aspects of life?

What helps you do this?

As a person of faith, what can you do to confront the deep-seated beliefs and assumptions of light as good and superior over darkness as bad and inferior?

See you on Sunday at our Emmaus Zoom!

With love from,

Kay Lambert

Victoria MacDonald

Steve Lyman


Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm to-night.

The tide is full, the moon lies fair

Upon the straits; – on the French coast the light

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.

Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!

Only, from the long line of spray

Where the sea meets the moon-blanch’d land,

Listen! you hear the grating roar

Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,

At their return, up the high strand,

Begin, and cease, and then again begin,

With tremulous cadence slow, and bring

The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago

Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought

Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow

Of human misery; we

Find also in the sound a thought,

Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The Sea of Faith

Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore

Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furl’d.

But now I only hear

Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,

Retreating, to the breath

Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear

And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true

To one another! for the world, which seems

To lie before us like a land of dreams,

So various, so beautiful, so new,

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;

And we are here as on a darkling plain

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,

Where ignorant armies clash by night.


Reach out in the Darkness

You'll never walk Alone


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