Friday, November 30, 2007

In the Darkness

The biblical tradition holds light in high regard as the place that right living will emerge. However, little emphasis is placed from where that light will come. Already in the second verse of the Bible this image is established.

Darkness was over the surface of the deep,
and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

In the Old Testament images of ‘the deep’ are often connected to the sea or ‘waters’. These two lines are connected and parallel each other. Prior to the creation of the world and even before light God is not negated or absent. Rather God exists mingled in the darkness, hovering over the chaos. We tend to think of night as the end of the day. However, in the Jewish and biblical tradition it is night that begins the day. Just as Sabbath is started at sundown in Jewish homes so in the Bible the movement of a day of creation is, “there was evening, and there was morning.” The appropriate movement of relationship to God is often one from darkness into light.
What should be reflected on is that according to the biblical witness it is only light that is created. It is darkness that existed in a primal relationship with God. Light is for our senses and our ability to live well with each other. Created light is not needed in relationship to God. Trust takes the place of senses in our ability to act and perceive. And where should we reside now that light may emerge?

Isaiah 58:6-10
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

If there is a desire to be "a people of the light" then the context must be residing in the places of darkness and the denial or escape from it.

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