Darkness is our enemy when it comes out of order and unexpected. A power outage that wipes out electricity and our quick access to light makes us feel helpless and vulnerable. We arm ourselves with flashlights and candles and wait for the light to come back on.
This is the picture of Saturday’s vigil following Friday’s crucifixion. People went back home, lost in a new darkness they had not expected. The hope who walked among them, healed and taught, stood up to Jewish leaders with authority, was dead.
Darkness covered their lives. It was the dark of questions without any answers, the dark of hope gone, the dark that made normal impossible, maybe forever.
And they did not expect the light to come on again.
It was like the darkness that covered the earth in the beginning of creation. It was a void and emptiness so thick and pervasive that nothing was there. This was a darkness that didn’t just cover the earth, it was the sum and substance of everything that existed.
In this dark beginning before our world existed, God stepped in and created what could not exist before.
In the same way that God created this world from nothing, God was about to do something with the darkness of this Saturday that would forever become a dividing line. It would either give us something to believe or something to debate.
The darkness of this Saturday vigil reminds us that God works with darkness in ways we can never understand. It is hidden work that makes everyone feel that nothing will ever change the darkness. It is this day we must remember when we wake the day after some great loss in our own lives to know that the darkness only means that God is working behind closed curtains.
If we can believe that God created new out of this world’s dark beginning and again out of the horrible darkness that enveloped the land after Jesus’ crucifixion, why can’t we believe that any darkness we encounter in life is just another place for God’s great creation to take place happen?
It is hard to know how the disciples felt and the questions they asked on this day of darkness. More than one probably hurled the accusation into God’s face, “Where is God?”
But God did answer. And when he did, the darkness became a Great Light.
The answer to that question today, no matter who asks it or why, is the same as the answer 2000 years ago . . . God is doing what He does best, creating something new from darkness.
This Saturday is a preparation day for tomorrow’s celebration. But don’t ignore the darkness that covered the land that day. Use it to remind your heart that there is no darkness so invasive or hopeless that God cannot use as His raw material for something new.
This is Truth that will hold you the next time you have to wait in the dark.
Scripture to guide you while you wait in the dark . . .
O Lord, you are my lamp. The Lord lights up my darkness. 2 Samuel 22:29
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. Isaiah 9:2