What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. –Matthew 10:27
A couple of months ago I shared with you that I was reading a book called Learning to Walk in the Dark, a reflection on the author’s experience of encountering God in times of chaos, uncertainty, loss and fear. A couple of days ago, I read the quote from the Gospel of Matthew above. Once again I was struck by the reflection on darkness, on learning to listen with our eyes closed. It struck me as an apt metaphor for finding our way forward in this new year, in this new era, where so many foundations we took for granted seem to be crumbling, some faster than others.
In reflecting on this gospel verse, Miriam McKenny writes this: When God chose to bring the light of the world to the earth on a night in Bethlehem from Mary’s womb, God makes it clear that dark and light cannot exist without each other. Too much of one and not enough of the other withers and destroys. Going deeper into our hearts might find us needing to shine a light on unseen and unknown recesses. We can only do this after we take some time to adjust our vision to the dark to see what our heart has hidden, so that when the lights come on and temporarily blind us, we remember where to look.
As the Church, as a congregation, as the Stillaguamish cluster, we are being invited by the Spirit into the dark and fertile ground of our creative imaginations. We are in the midst of a period of evaluation and exploration and experimentation regarding what our future ministry together might look like. Much is shifting, both internally and externally, and no one actually has the answers regarding the “right” way forward. We need to learn to go “deeper into our hearts”, to explore those “unseen and unknown recesses” that lie beyond the “we have always done it this way” certainties and can lead us somewhere new.
A fellow pastor recently shared these words of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ with her congregation: Above all, trust in the slow work of God… only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be. They stuck me as very apt for this process of routing around in the dark. So let us move forward, into the dark, together, trusting in God’s work of reformation.
Welcome, new year! Pastor Annette