Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.
Food for Thought:
The image of light and darkness appears all over the Biblical narrative. I hadn’t thought much about what this dichotomy does to our spiritual lives until I recently picked up a book by one of my favorite authors, Barbara Brown Taylor, called Learning to Walk in the Dark. In the book she talks about her lifelong struggle with light and darkness. From a very young age, we are taught to fear the dark and love the light. We worry that things will happen in the dark that don’t happen during the day. So it’s really easy to make the leap that we should shut out the dark with as many lights as possible. But the problem is that some of the most beautiful and spiritually connecting things that can happen between us and God can happen in the dark. Think about how moved you have been by waking up in the middle of the night to look at the stars, or getting up so early in the morning, when it’s still dark, to watch the sun rise over the horizon. We need not shut out all darkness in our lives. Actually, the most important lesson I learned from this book is that we need to embrace the darkness sometimes. Sometimes the darkness can transform our lives in ways that we could never imagine.
O Holy God of Israel, you faithfully keep the promises you made to our ancestors and lead your people into the future, providing hospitality on the way. Help us who inherit the pilgrim life to journey faithfully at your command, that we may be a band of disciples called to be sojourners in your service. In your holy name we pray, Amen.