Tuesday, September 27, 2022



Whenever the library we call the Bible presents us with accounts of human encounters with God, it is always as a simultaneous revealing and concealing. The coincidence of both these elements is the essential prerequisite for Mystery. And this is as true of the human as it is of the divine, even if the human concealing is as childlike as covering their eyes (note I say childlike, not childish: there is deep insight in such action; I do not look the congregation in the eye when I preach, for they would not bear to see my soul directly, nor I theirs, despite sharing in the care of those very souls).

Of the many ways God is described, one is as dwelling in blinding light, and another, as dwelling in thick darkness. These are not mutually opposed images, but necessary counterparts. And each invites us to walk, with God, by faith not sight. The psalmist goes so far as to declare that the sun shall not strike you by day nor the moon by night, because God is present within and rules over both light and dark.

Learning to walk in the dark is part of being a pilgrim people. (Learning to walk in the light, also; though this can be harder, as we too easily assume that we can accurately see what lies ahead.) It requires trust, patience, and attentiveness. It evokes wonder and opens the door to experiencing awe.

Last night, moving around my bedroom in the dark, I hit my toe, hard, against the foot of the bed, so that today the toe is red and the nail black. This was a space I have navigated countless times in the light, and plenty times before in the dark. Nothing had moved, or been moved, within the space; but, half-awake, my senses were dulled and my movement was at the same time too cautious and lacking care.

We do well to recognise that the future that lies ahead of us is concealed from us in blinding light and thick darkness. We do well not to rush in, with overly-bold promises. But neither do we need to fear to tread, in despair. For God is waiting for us in the future, as God comes to us in the present, as testified to in the past. And wherever our mutual revealing and concealing occur, there, even though limping, we stand on holy ground.


No comments:

Post a Comment