Our thanks to Brendan Armitage for offering this week’s devotion. (In case you are wondering, the darkest Night Service he refers to will be held on Sunday night,m December 22 at 6PM in our sanctuary.)
“But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
I was at a patient’s house this past week. A bit of a night-owl, she doesn’t normally get-up until about noon but, on the day previous to my visit, she had overslept and hadn’t “awoken” for the day…until 5pm. As she said with a rueful smile, “I missed the whole dang day!” because, as we all know, at this time of year it’s really dark by 5pm. Winter in Lancaster.
Every year, we have a service in our St. Peter’s church on or about Winter Solstice, aka “The Shortest Day of the year”. It’s the “Darkest Night” service, but I think of it as the Winter Blues service. It’s the blues of anxiety, of being one of the many who doesn’t win it all in our “winner take all” society. It’s the blues of depression and regret, of losing physical capability and health. It’s the blues of shame and self-loathing for actions taken and for actions never started, of losing family and family support as we and those around us mature, age, and die. B.B. King, the king of the blues, would have been the perfect musical guest for that service. Our loss.
But in a way, our entire lives as Christians are all about dealing with these blues of secularism, aren’t they? Because our lives as Christians are not just about raising kids, or working a job, or taking care of a spouse, family member, or pet. Our entire lives as Christians are about what we bring to those tasks, aren’t they? Our entire lives as Christians are about bringing good news, the good news of Jesus the Christ, to those tasks that we do everyday, and especially to the tasks we take on in the blue notes of winter.
So, in this day wan and fading and amidst the night that seems to never end, whether the Darkest Night service does or doesn’t fit your schedule, please take a moment to recognize the light that is already and always in you? It is a light that cannot be extinguished, because it comes from a covenant that cannot be broken. “Shine, Jesus, Shine” is a song Christians sometimes sing about that covenant. That covenant is in you, as part of the unbreakable bond between you and your God that unites you to Christians near and far, perished and alive. We are all alive, alive in the light and the love, of Jesus.
See you in church.