23 March 2021
Readings: Is 60:19-20; Jn 1:1-5.
There is little doubt that this past year is one that we would all like to forget, even better wish it never happened. To say the least, it was unlike any other year. It was clearly a year filled with darkness. This darkness included isolation in our homes and from our loved ones in hospitals, nursing homes, and memory care units. We became disconnected from relatives, friends, grandkids, nieces, nephews, neighbors, and co-workers as everyone hunkered down at home. The darkness included students being sent home for remote learning and losing the community dimension of learning, which is so much a part of education at all levels. Masks and washing hands became the memes of this past year; and while we will, hopefully still wash our hands, we pray that we can get rid of these masks.
It goes without saying that the deepest darkness of these past twelve months has been the suffering that took place in ICUs and hospital rooms by people who were dying alone and frightened away from family. This darkness consisted of the death of so many of our brothers and sisters – parents, siblings, grandparents, relatives, friends, and neighbors. The elderly, the poor, and people of color were hit the hardest by this darkness that enveloped us and the world.
But you know despite the deep darkness, it was NOT the darkness of being in a cave with absolutely no light. When there is a complete absence of light you can’t see your hand directly in front of your face. The darkness of these past twelve months was, thankfully, not a complete darkness. There were many points of light that sparkled and shone in these days, and these points of light offered us hope. Think of the many nurses and care givers who ran around from room to room in hospitals and care facilities with iPads and Tablets connecting patients with family members remotely. This simple act of love and kindness, amidst the deluge of caring for so many seriously ill people, was light that shone in the darkness.
We’ve all heard stories of younger people shopping for elderly neighbors who were most vulnerable to Covid. This simple service was light shining in the darkness. People well known and not so well known dipped into their pockets to help those who lost their jobs so they wouldn’t lose their homes. These acts of charity were points of light. I read recently about teenagers who were poised at their computers late at night scouring for appointments for the vaccine for those who had trouble navigating the vaccine websites. These and so many other acts of kindness, service, and love were shining lights that kept the darkness from becoming complete.
As a community we gather here tonight to acknowledge the darkness we have experienced; and we remember the lives lost and all those who are affected by Covid. But we also gather to remind ourselves that we believe that LIGHT always shines in the darkness. As Christians, we know that “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not (and cannot) overcome it.”
As much as handwashing and masks have been symbols for Covid, LIGHT is a symbol for Christ. “For the Lord will be your light forever, and the days of your grieving will be over.” Jesus came into the world to offer LIGHT and HOPE. He remains with us and has strengthened us for and through these dark days.
So, we offer thanks and praise for all the shining LIGHTS of these dark days. We are grateful all the wonderful people who kept the darkness from overcoming us. By their / our love, service, and kindness, the world was offered and received relief, comfort, and solace. In each of these acts, big and small, we experienced God’s grace and love. And we know with all our hearts that each point of light that shone then and shines now is the presence of Christ. We rejoice in this divine love which was and is expressed throughout this difficult journey. Thank you, Lord, for being our light and our salvation.