St. Mary Nanoose Bay
January 26, 2020
Isaiah 9:1-4 / Psalm 40:1-11
Come holy Spirit, fill the hearts of us your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.”(Is 9:2)
These have been somewhat gloomy days and I don’t know about you, but I can feel a bit down when there’s been no break in the rain and I’ve been waiting to head out for a walk. And then suddenly the day ends. By 5 o’clock, it’s dark and we’re inside for the night. I sometimes I feel cozy, but other times I feel claustrophobic - longing for light and warmth. I forget it’s coming; the sun is just behind the clouds.
Then there are the nights I wake up with a start, heart pounding, thinking of my troubles; recalling my words or actions that haunt me with regret. The darkness can bear down on me. It can take many minutes, even hours, for me to orient myself, to break the vicious cycle of self recrimination by opening myself to God’s love and guidance; turning to the hidden light.
The psalmist today reminds us of the power of this turning to God – “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?”(27:1)
Our own thoughts and ideas can drag us into very dark places. Places of despair, discouragement and harsh judgment. We can get stuck there, forgetting to turn towards the light.
How do we turn? One way is to ask a question or ask for help. Listen to the psalmist – “One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple.” (27:4)
It is a lifetime practice to remember to keep turning towards God, asking for help. And there are many ways we can do this work.
Study, prayer, time in nature, gratitude are all ways to live in the house of the Lord. These are all actions and orientations that we can undertake on our own in order to draw closer, and be more open, to the Divine.
And…. there are other people. People who remind us that we are not alone. People who walk with us through the darkness into the light. Friends, partners, artists, authors, parents and children who remind us of the power of love; the power of love to light up our lives, our futures, our world.
God is not only present to us in the colour of the morning sky, the sounds of the birds singing, but in the warm hand of a child in ours, in the gathering together to share a meal, and in the eyes of our beloved.
Today, Sue and Will are sharing with us the light that has come into their lives through the love they have discovered and embraced. Today they will honour the gift of love they’ve received and give witness to it in each other. Their love can inspire and encourage us and remind of us of the light that overcomes the darkness. And for this expression of the divine in our relationships, we give thanks!
As Will and Sue make their vows, we will vow in turn to support them in the nurturing and expression of that light and love in their lives.
For if we trust and honour what we are offered, our impulse will be to receive and share that gift. And in this way, love makes the world go round.
Every one of us has been in the darkness, and will find ourselves in the darkness again. This is a given. But as we practice and mature in our faith, we remember to turn ourselves towards the light more and more quickly. And so we can walk with others and support them in turning to the light as well.
I this way we come to really know Jesus’ promise that in repenting, or turning fully towards God , we will see that the kingdom of heaven has indeed come near. And in following him, yes, we can help bring others into an awareness of the light that always has, does now, and always will overcome the darkness.