Saturday, April 9, 2016

Light to Darkness to Light Again

“Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,
but the glory of the LORD rises and appears over you.”
--Isaiah 60:2

The reference to darkness in the Crucifixion scene intrigues me because it seems to be an allusion harkening back to the Genesis Creation.  The same phrasing appears in Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, and Luke 23:44 just before Jesus dies* --

“darkness (σκότος) there was (ἐγένετο) on the whole earth (γῆν)”.

The same three Greek words noted in this Crucifixion verse are also found in Genesis 1: 2 and 3  --

“But the earth (γη) was unseen and unready and darkness (σκότος) upon the abyss and God’s spirit bore down upon the water” (1:2)

“There was (εγένετο) light” (1:3)

The Genesis verses bring to mind the image of the earth in a lightless and watery womb, waiting to be born when suddenly God’s contractions begin.  God speaks the word and light is born.  Once the waters are parted, the earth will fully emerge.

As Jesus hangs upon the Cross dying, this process begins to be reversed.  The earth moves back into the darkness.  It is as if the creation is undone when Jesus is crucified.  

The Crucifixion marks the end of the world made in Genesis.  I imagine a reset button being pushed.  God calls a do-over so that the earth may be born anew.  After a three-day gestation period, the Resurrection occurs and the New Creation is born of the Spirit.

Faith that the Spirit is still causing the New Creation to mature from infancy to adulthood is the source of my hope for the social order.  I want to align my efforts with the divine creative process that is moving the Earth from darkness to light.  

My difficulty identifying what the Spirit is up to is the obstacle that impedes my sincere efforts and stymies my good intentions.  I confess my ignorance, attempt to temper my advocacy with meekness and humility, and keep trying to be faithful.

*  The darkness appears in the Gospel of John as well, but it is not an exact parallel:  
John 20:1 -- “it still being dark (σκοτίας), Mary Magdalene went to the tomb”

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