Our cable and Internet have been sporadic the last few days: mostly off rather than on, so I’ve felt out of the loop in a lot of regards. And for anyone who knows me… communication is very important, so this has been a very stressful week. In one sense that was heightened this morning when I showed up at church and discovered that the building still has no power. It was a fair drive to get to church this morning, and then the doors were locked. Most of the residential community around the building have been restored, but the church itself (probably because it preceded the subdivision) is still dark. (I appreciated those priorities: but it was still a pain.)
There were about ten of us who, for one reason or another, had not received the emails or calls telling us that the services had been cancelled: and this being Christmas, not having services is significant. I regretted (once again) not having my camera, but there were a couple of pictures taken of us as we stomped around in the parking lot. And then we decided to hold our own little service; Ann had her keys, so she let us into the chilly church. We nabbed prayer books and bibles from the sanctuary and stood about in the cold foyer praying and reading through what would have been appropriate for Christmas.
Being the introvert, small-group person that I am, this was fabulous. Ann lead the little group, though we had no-one preach: instead we reflected on the passages in the lectionary as they impacted us. For me, I was struck by the gospel reading: although the full reference was John 1:1-14, I mostly commented on verse 5. The introduction to John’s gospel is, for me, what I consider to be “the basics” of what I believe.
Verse five: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome[a] it.” [NIV] The footnote, I believe, is essential: and is better expressed in the King James Version: “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” I find this to be one of the saddest descriptions in the bible, and it reflects the core of our difficulty in the world: the light shines against the darkness, and we don’t understand it. I don’t think it’s just that people are unjust, or petty, or cruel, or unthinking of themselves: it’s that we don’t understand the light. I find that the better I understand (comprehend), the easier it is to align myself to the light. And among that group of ten I found myself aligning a little bit better.
I will admit that I was shivering as I climbed back in the car and drove on home. But inside I was warm and stimulated.