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Punching holes in the darkness

CrossOver reflection for Holy Saturday • April 20, 2019
We Make the Road by Walking, Chapter 32c

Rev. DJ del Rosario

Change can be very hard. My family and I have recently moved to Federal Way, Washington. Our new home is unfamiliar to us. Navigating at night can be hard for our children, so we have strategically placed night lights in our hallways and bathrooms to know how to find our way around when the house is darkest. We’ve plugged these devices into our outlets which have motion sensors and turn on when they sense movement. I think my favorite thing about them is that they work better the darker it gets.

When I move around our house at night, the first few steps are almost always in the dark, and then the nightlight detects my motion and begins to illuminate my way. Especially at first, the darkness feels too dark to dare to take even a few steps. Sometimes, my kids are too scared to even get up. That’s when they call out in the night and listen for someone in our family to help them find their bearings and know that they aren’t alone.

As I reflect on this Holy Week, I can only imagine what it was like for followers of Jesus. The Roman Empire crucified Jesus on the cross. Empire won that day. I can’t begin to imagine how dark it felt for followers of Jesus then. After all those years, all those miracles, they now huddle in the darkness not sure what to do next. What was once sure, is no longer guaranteed. What was once guaranteed is clouded in confusion.

It feels like the Empire is winning a lot of days lately. As a people of faith, we must remember that light has already punched holes through the darkness. On Easter, we get to celebrate that Jesus has risen from the dead and death has been defeated. Just as the darkest night of the year must yield to the light eventually, we can remember that darkness can blot out the light—if only for a moment. Even a spark of light can illuminate the darkest places.

The thickest walls in Berlin fell one day. The most deadly guns can be bent into plowshares. Minefields can be turned into playgrounds with our effort. Even some of the most hateful people can learn the transforming grace of love with enough patience.

We are imperfect people serving a perfecting God who loves us as we are. Because of this, we aren’t meant to stay just as we are.

God’s unconditional love for us doesn’t mean we get to say and do anything. It means we have an awesome responsibility to remind each person we encounter that they matter. That they are sacred.

That we see you. We hear you. We love you.

I pray that we will learn from these dark times in the world and in our Church and move slowly enough to build something right this time. My heart has been encouraged by siblings who continue to call out into the night. I hear the voices of brothers, sisters, all persons of sacred worth whispering and shouting resistance, grace, and love.

To all who are brave enough to step in the darkness. To all who are voices in a darkening world. To all who wonder if this Saturday will finally end—thank you for your prophetic voices. Thank you for your courageous leadership.

To all who feel alone, afraid, disempowered, disenfranchised and disjointed from the body of Christ. We are here. We see you. We love you. The body of Christ is much stronger with you.

In Easter hope, I believe we will widen our circle to those we might call the lost, the least, the marginalized, the disenfranchised. I pray that instead of talking about the people we are called to serve, we will learn, listen and serve alongside all of God’s creation seeking a kingdom that is better than our world is today. I believe with all that I am that light will prevail. Because the darkness is only as dark as the next moment light pierces it.

Rev. DJ del Rosario (@pastordj) is a husband, father, University of Washington (UW) Husky fan, pastor and author. He met his best friend and wife Elaine in seminary. They have three amazing daughters who are the source of their joy. 

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