God made the two great lights
– the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night – and the stars.
The snow is beginning to fall in MN, and so we begin our final week reflecting on darkness.
So what better place to end than where it all began – Genesis 1:
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Here’s the thing about Genesis that we miss.
In Genesis 1:4 it says that darkness covered the land – so God made light.
When God created the world, darkness was there already.
I think this is really important.
Because it reminds me that God made LIGHT, not darkness.
God knew that life couldn’t be sustained in only darkness.
But then, God goes further.
In verse 16, it says that God made different KINDS of light.
One to rule the day.
And one to rule the night.
They are different.
Each light has a place in the way of creation.
We need both.
And both are a part of the world God created for us.
We need the sun.
It gives us life and warmth and joy.
Our planet would not be able to survive without the sun.
And despite it being called the “lesser” light. We need the moon too.
It is lesser in terms of brightness, sure, but not in importance.
The moon lights the dark, it moves the waters, and it helps regulate all sorts of life-sustaining characteristics of our planet.
(really, the moon is so cool – read this article about what life would be like without a moon)
Also the moon is beautiful.
Besides being beautiful and important, the moon does the incredible task of giving light in the darkness.
It’s different than the sun.
The sun’s light kind of obliterates any other light.
We can’t see the stars in the daytime, and rarely can we see the moon either.
We can’t even really look at the sun.
And yet at night, in the dark, that is when the lesser light comes out.
Even though it doesn’t get rid of the darkness, it does change it.
A few weeks ago, I talked in the uplift about a book the Cancer Support Group here at my church read together (Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor). Another thing she wrote about was this idea of solar spirituality. That somehow we’ve decided that faith means things are always happy and shiny and bright.
Until they aren’t.
And if they aren’t so happy and sunny, then we must be doing something wrong.
So we just need to pray harder.
We say things like “come into the light”
– as if we just tried a little bit harder, we could leave the darkness behind.
Have you ever felt this way?
Like you were stuck in a world of solar spirituality?
Where darkness is not ok, not sought out, and hidden, ignored, or explained away?
Yeah. Solar spirituality seems like a good thing, until your life gets dark.
Then it doesn’t have a lot to say.
I don’t know about you, but I think solar spirituality is total crap.
Yes I said crap in a devotional.
And I mean it.
Because darkness, hard things, bad days, they are not your fault.
Do I need to say it again?
When your life isn’t going the way you thought it would go,
It’s not your fault.
Sometimes life is just … dark.
And sometimes you can’t will or hope or believe your way out of darkness.
In her book, Taylor says that she thinks instead of solar spirituality, she has “been given the gift of lunar spirituality, in which the divine light available to me waxes and wanes with the season. When I go out on the porch at night, the moon never looks the same way twice. Some nights it is as round and bright as a headlight; other nights it is thinner than the sickle hanging in my garage. Some nights it is high in the sky, and other night low over the mountains. Some nights it is altogether gone, leaving a vast web of stars that are brighter in its absence.”
Did your whole being just sort of yell out YES when you read this?
I think lunar spirituality is just pure truth and when we finally read/hear/see real truth our whole being reacts to it. If you’ve been stuck in solar spirituality wondering why you feel like an outside there, I think it’s because faith is more lunar.
We’ve been taking time this month to sit in the darkness, to recognize the beauty contained in it, to see and feel and notice God’s presence in it.
And yet, we also need to acknowledge that darkness and light are a part of a cycle we go in and out of rather than a place we are stuck in.
A cycle created by God.
Cycles, by definition, are movement.
This is why lunar spirituality is so beautiful to think about.
When it’s darkest, that’s the beginning of the next cycle.
There is light about to come.
And though it may just be a sliver, its coming.
So if you’re in a dark place right now, know it’s temporary.
If things are good for you, know that even if they dim,
it doesn’t change the presence of God with you.
This is the way life really feels isn’t it?
Dark and light.
Back and forth, sometimes more dark than others,
Sometimes almost too bright.
And yet the cycle continues.
So wherever you are right now,
if it’s light or dark or even some kind of strange middle-light kinda-dark,
It’s all a kind of beautiful.
And God is in it all.