Advent November 30 – December 24
“Learning to Walk in the Dark” theme continues through January 4th.
Church tradition talks a lot about the light coming into a world of darkness – about how the bright sunshine of the good news vanquishes the dark night of the soul - it's in our hymns “Thou reignest in glory, thou dwellest in light;” our liturgy begs, “Be our light in the darkness, O Lord;” and our scriptures “This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light.” (John 3:19) and on our bumper stickers “Jesus is the light of the world”, “Live in the light.”
. . . but what if that's not always our experience?
“The problem is this: when, despite all my best efforts, the lights have gone off in my life (literally or figuratively, take your pick), plunging me into the kind of darkness that turns my knees to water, nonetheless I have not died. The monsters have not dragged me out of bed and taken me back to their lair. The witches have not turned me into a bat. Instead, I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.”
Could it be that darkness has a powerful place in our life? Taylor wonders if we can learn from the times it seems God is silent. Can unknowing and silence nurture our soul's growth?
In Time Magazine's cover article on Taylor, she reminds us:
“Darkness was often the setting for humanity's closest encounters with the divine. God appeared to Abraham in the night and promised him descendants more numerous than the stars. The exodus from Egypt happened at night. God met Moses in the thick darkness atop Mount Sinai to hand down the Ten Commandments. Jesus was born beneath a star and resurrected in the darkness of a cave.”
So this Advent, we'll explore the ways we can make it through the dark wood. We'll examine how darkness is often equated with evil or inferiority which gets sinful when applied to the way we think of Africa as the dark continent, and those with darker skin as inferior by extension.
Those who are unable to join us on Sunday mornings, are invited to join the online worshiping community at Darkwood Brew, named for the Christian mystics who understood time spent in darkwood experiences (i.e. lostness, emptiness, failure, and uncertainty) can be times of great possibility and revelation.
If you want to glean all that Barbara Brown Taylor's wisdom about how darkness may save us all pick up her book and join us for the Advent study (the in-depth one on 3 Sundays in December at 8:35) or the one-night discussion (on the 17th at the parsonage).
Advent Oasis - Take a breath during the busy holiday season
Monday mornings 8:00 at Panera, EL
Christmas Eve - Dec 24, 7:00
Night Hike Dec 21, 6:00 at Trinity Springfield
Mitten Clothesline - bring mittens/hats for Springfield cold
Alternative Gift Giving - Sanctuary Clothesline
P.J.s in partnership with Wesley Springfield donate children's pajamas