Sunday, November 20, 2016

Dawning Light

What a week! I had wondered if the fear, grief and depression which followed the election would have abated somewhat by this weekend. Yet, it still remains but for many it has turned to activism. That sometimes takes the form of large protests but mostly it is in the small deeds of kindness and support.

This week the lectionary offers two choices of gospel passage. I read them both, the phrase that stayed with me was, “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).

I particularly liked the phrase “the dawn from on high will break upon us”. It had a real Celtic feel about it. The reality of the cycle of life. After darkness there is always light. It is inevitable. The dawn will come. It is bigger than us, it is bigger than our lifespan.

As many of you know, part of our lifestyle is to start the day in the hot tub. We often watch the dawn arriving. We get into the tub in the dark (we don’t put lights on). As we sit and sip our morning cup of tea light starts to penetrate the darkness. It is not a sudden thing, there is not a moment when we switch from darkness to light. It is almost imperceptible. Trees start to become recognizable shapes, the outline of a deer can be made out, shadowy objects become garden furniture and the stars recede as light overtakes darkness.

For me, that picture really summed up the atmosphere of the last two weeks. The darkness has remained. Yet, I think now glimmers of light are starting to show through. These are the stories that are emerging of ordinary people helping and supporting those most at risk.

I have read or been told many stories of people showing kindness to strangers. They are committed to making sure those in their immediate sphere are cared for and supported in the face of persecution. These are glimmers of light ushering in the dawn.

Others have been writing or phoning their political representatives. Their phone calls are not about fiscal policies or educational reforms but about the way human beings are being treated. They are to advocate for people who should be afforded protection by the country they live in. These, too, are glimmers of light.

Still others are supporting organisations which stand up for human rights. They are using their personal resources to help to ensure that legal protection will be available for those who need it. More glimmers of light.
I am sure that each person reading this could add a story about a glimmer of light.

Yet as I write this, things still feel fairly dark. The only thing I can be sure of is that the dawn will arrive. I have no idea how long it will take. I don’t know what energies will be expended in ushering it in. I don’t even know that it will get fully light in my lifetime. But ultimately light will overcome the darkness . . . it always does.

(Photographs: Dawn breaking over Broadkill Beach, Delaware. November 2015. © Jane Hall Fitz-Gibbon)