Sunglasses at Night
The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. – Acts 5:12–13 (NIV)
As a deeply pale individual, unalloyed sun is a logistical nightmare. Did I remember to put on sunscreen? What about my hat, did I bring the hat? If I’m bringing my also-very-pale daughter, this difficulty is compounded by the sure knowledge that all our clothing will soon be streaked with zinc oxide. Winter is much easier, when the light is more glancing and filtered through thicker sky. And, yes, I know sunscreen is advisable on the ski slopes. And, no, catapulting down a mountain strapped to two boards is not my idea of a good time.
I feel kinship with the people who didn’t dare join the apostles in Solomon’s colonnade (that’s a fancy word for porch). The apostles were performing amazing, dazzling, bright, glaring, unalloyed wonders. And it was scaring people off. The Jesus movement struggled to grow because the apostles were all sunshine and no shade.
Christ was nurtured in the darkness of Mary’s womb. He was protected from Herod’s wrath by the safety of night’s shadows. He was resurrected in the deep darkness of the tomb. The darkness is the site of tender miracles, of safety, of respite.
Sun and light and brightness have their place, it’s true. So too does darkness and the cool of the deeps, the quiet of the moments when the night-blooms are opening to the air. As the nights grow longer and the stars and moon take center stage, this is not a season to be endured. It is a season of blessings.
God of the darkness, cover me up.
Rev. John Edgerton is Senior Minister and CEO of Old South Church in Boston. He is the 21st Senior minister in the congregation’s over 350 year history.