They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright. - Psalm 112:4 (NRSV)
When I was a kid, I delivered the morning paper. I got up at 5:30 a.m. and rode my bike a mile to a small shopping center. There a tightly bound stack of 50 copies of that day’s Washington Post awaited me beneath the dull light from the closed Westover Safeway store.
It was darkest on the first part of my route. I crossed the main road and went down a long street that for some reason had no street lights. It could be very dark. I didn’t like it. I wanted to be done with those ten deliveries and off to the other side of the highway where there were streetlights as soon as I could.
Except for the Shulteis’ home, the last house on that dark street. There was a light on there. No matter how dark the early morning, Mr. or Mrs. Shulteis would be up, visible through the window, going about the beginnings of their day. That saved me.
I get up early most days, often rising in the darkness. I like to read then, or write. I like to watch the first boats head out on the Sound, and the early joggers with their bobbing head lamps trotting along the bike path. I drink a cup of coffee and watch the day begin. Who knows, maybe my desk lamp is someone’s beacon?
Of course, you don’t have to be a literal morning person, to rise in the darkness. There are all sorts of different darknesses to rise in, to rise against. Thank God for everyone who does rise in one darkness or another, who casts some light of faith and warmth — as the Shulteis did for me — for the rest of us.
Dear Bright Morning Star Jesus, praise be to you for rising in every darkness and for all who by doing the same, follow you. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book, Useful Wisdom: Letter to Young (and Not So Young) Ministers will be published early next year by Wipf and Stock. You can read and sign up for his blog at www.anthonybrobinson.com.