When it is hard to see the light

The announcer reported the crash of the German plane in the French Alps last week, and chilled my soul. My son-in-law frequently flies over Europe. One of my daughters lives in Switzerland, and we’ve visited the French Alps together. Though strangers died and lost loved ones, the personal connection brought it into my heart. As the story emerged of the co-pilot’s suicide, selfishly taking many with him, including sixteen teens and their adult chaperons from a village in Germany, I couldn’t shake the heaviness.

It’s too dark.

All around, the darkness seems to be growing.

Isis is teaching children to behead people.

Arab countries call for Israel’s destruction, along with the Great Satan – the United States. Iran moves closer and closer to the threat of nuclear weapons. Many think the trouble brewing in the Middle East may initiate World War III.

From across the U.S., I read daily notices, no longer front page, of young people on shooting sprees, mothers on trial for their children’s deaths and, tucked even deeper in the paper, day after day, arrests for child molestation.

And I wonder how many are never reported.

How many silent screams fill our land.

This was the filter with which I stood in church and listened to the dramatic reading of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a young donkey – a symbol of peace.

The crowd cheers him. Too soon, we move to the last meal. Jesus washes their feet with his love, and Judas rushes out to betray him. With a kiss. And the crowd now mocks and shouts, “Crucify him!”

But before that final ordeal begins, Jesus goes to the garden and talks with his Father. Agonizes.

Some believe he dreads the beatings, mocking, shame and the pain of the cruelest death, on a cross.

I think he looks into the darkness, that horrible presence in our world that continues to rip open hearts and lives, and perhaps he dreads entering.

Perhaps his greatest agony is knowing that, even after it is all accomplished, after he does through the darkness and wins the victory, after he rises from death to regain Paradise for God’s creation, there are some who will still choose darkness.

Some will still ignore the warmth of the fire and walk out into the heart-chilling cold.

What I can’t understand is how they are able to carry others with them.

The little children killed or terribly abused or neglected by their parents, the orphans no one claims, all the wounds in childhood that lead to an angry, hurting adult who hurts others.

At times, this is the darkness that makes it hard to see the light.

I know I cannot dwell there.

I must choose to remember the sun is still shinning above the thick clouds.

His love has been poured out.

God has won.

The end is secure.

And when the darkness threatens to overwhelm us, there is hope. There is light. There is a new identity, a new life for all who chose to seek it.