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Hope in the Darkness – A Reflection

March 16, 2020
The Twin Owls overlooking Estes Park and Lake Estes

As we continued to build plans for virtual worship, fellowship, and outreach there was much to ponder. News continues to reveal the vulnerability of our town, state, nation, and world. In the midst of it all, stories of Good Neighbors reaching out to help one another also appear.

We truly are living in the time between darkness and the dawn. I also hear the music of our friends bringing light into these challenging times. Music is indeed the language of the heart.

Interesting that we would be in the middle of our Lenten journey as current events overwhelm us. In the midst of the darkness the light still shines. Last night in worship I reminded our worshippers (and myself) of this promise from Jesus in John’s Gospel. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:5)

As I continue this Lenten journey with my sweetheart, I found these words from Thomas Merton’s poem, “The Vine” speaking to my soul.

When the wind and winter turn our vineyard

To a bitter Calvary,

What bands come out and crucify us

Like the innocent vine?

How long will starlight weep as sharp as thorns

In the night of our desolate life?

How long will moonlight fear to free the naked prisoner?

Or is there no deliverer?…

As if we had forgotten how the wind whips of winter

And the cross of April

Would all be lost in one bright miracle.

For look! The vine on Calvary is bright with branches!

See how the whole hill smiles with flowers:

And know how all our numbered veins must run

With life, like the sweet vine, when it is full of sun. (1944)

In the Darkness Before the Dawn: New Selected Poems of Thomas Merton (p.53)

The vine of Calvary is bright with branches and flowers. To this hope and promise I will cling despite the darkness which seeks to cover this land. To this hope I will cling…

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