December 17, 2020

Darkness and Light

“Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light…”
Book of Common Prayer p. 211

It’s important for us to recognize the power of darkness and evil in our world. We see it in our own lives. We see it in young adults struggling to find their way. We see it in our politics and government. Darkness and evil are at work all around us, and we need to respect their power.

Our people taught me that if we can overcome our fears, if we can acquire understanding and wisdom, we can carry light through the darkness. This is the same as the teaching of Jesus, “Let your light shine…” The power of the Creator and the life-giving Spirit will be with us as we confront the darkness.

In nature things are not always as they seem. For example, European folk tales teach us to fear the wolf prowling in the forest. In fact, wolves are loving family animals, devoted to the pack. There is much they could teach us about cooperation and loyalty. We can become lost in the darkness, but if we face into it there’s also a lot for us to learn.

In my own life I’ve had to go through the darkness to release its hold on me. How did I find the courage to do that? The women, especially the elders, are a source of strength in our culture, and they helped me begin my healing journey. The Sundance chiefs understood the need for me to learn from evil and darkness in order to break its grip. The Lord gave me the gift of free will and was always beside me, ready for me to freely choose the way of love. When I met Jesus he simply said, “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.”

Our world is desperately in need of prayer today. Fear and suffering are everywhere, and the pandemic keeps a tight grip on us. I picture it laughing at us, “Want to ignore precautions? Go ahead and see what happens. Think you have this under control? How’s that working for you?”

This is no time for us just to be going through the motions spiritually. We need to pray daily, smudge our houses and call upon the light of Jesus. If we can let him take the burden of the trauma we carry, it will free us to live in hope. Remember what the Gospel said about him, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”