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June 13, 2013

Photo by lilivanili, Source “The Fire Within” (CC BY 2.0 Generic)

Darkness is merely the relative absence of light. Without sufficient light, the specialized rod and cone cells in our eyes cannot distinguish wavelength or frequency.

Temporarily deprived of sight, we may feel anxious or fearful. We search out street lights at night. Women walk faster than usual, keys in hand, their bags clutched tightly under one arm.

But darkness is, also, an invisibility cloak. We may well feel liberated – free to reveal our darkest secrets to a stranger or do in the dark what we might not care to have revealed at noon. The number of fatal auto accidents rises at night. Crime rates rise at night.

In Western culture, darkness is often used as a metaphor for depression or evil. Dante in his Divine Comedy: Inferno described hell as “with solid darkness stain’d”. Milton in his epic poem Paradise Lost called Satan the “Prince of Darkness” (as had Shakespeare earlier, in King Lear).

In the Bible, there was darkness on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God hovering over the face of the waters (Gen. 1: 2). There was darkness over the land of Egypt (Ex. 10: 22). Job spoke in his despair of going to the land of darkness and the shadow of death, from which there was no return (Job 10: 21).

Clouds and darkness are said to surround the throne of God (Ps. 97: 2), especially when He is angered. Isaiah predicts woe for those who call good evil, and replace light with darkness (Is. 5: 20). Upon Christ’s crucifixion, there was darkness over the land from the sixth to the ninth hour (Mark. 15: 33).

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” (Is. 9: 2).

Lord Jesus, there is no dark place beyond Your reach. In the knowledge of our own unworthiness, we pray for those who may at this moment feel forgotten – whether on the battlefield or the streets, in the bar or brothel, in prison or impoverished.

You extended Your mercy to us; Your death gave us life. We pray that those still in darkness may see a great Light.



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