Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | March 5, 2018

The dark night

Who isn’t sometimes restless, sometimes passionate, longing for something different—something more? It’s certainly a theme fit for Lenten reflection.

In the verses right before this week’s text, Nicodemus goes to Jesus because of a deep yearning. What do I need to do to be close to God? To be right with God? How can I have more meaning in my life?

Though he is a religious leader, something is lacking. He is educated, well-connected, respected. He’s unlike some Pharisees Jesus has criticized for hypocrisy, the ones who thought they had nothing left to learn, that there was no room for growth, that they never made a mistake, that God was on their side. Nicodemus is far less certain. He wants something more.

Jesus gives a long answer with many moving parts. It’s about salvation and eternal life, about God’s love for the world, and about darkness and light (a common theme for John’s gospel).

Why does Nicodemus come at night? Did he have to work all day? Is he afraid for people to see him—a religious leader—looking for something new, so he comes under cover of darkness? Or is night the time when his yearnings for something more get the better of him? He is hesitant. He doesn’t know what he needs, but his yearning sends him on this journey in the dark. He ends up knocking on the door of the house where Jesus is staying—that rabbi who sounds so engaging.

People are often troubled at night. Darkness can be overwhelming, and light so elusive. They can’t sleep because their minds are churning over the events of the day, or they are worried about how they’ll pay the bills, or they are watching over a sick child, partner, or parent, or they feel guilty, or they are afraid of tomorrow.

When the darkness descends, where do you go? What questions do you ask? What answers are beyond your reach?

The good news is that you’re not condemned for being afraid or guilty or troubled. Those feelings that generate darkness, or that are generated by the darkness, are welcomed, and invited into the light of God’s presence.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. moon-copyright-blog-2-20-17

© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2018


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