Rambling for Kirwan Uniting Church Keeping in Touch newsletter 8 August 2021
You know that feeling after a lovely holiday away, your body is back home but half of your mind is still at the place where you’ve just spent two restful weeks … ? Leisa and I wondered why I slept so well. The holiday cottage bed was comfortable, but so is ours. There was no night-time noise in Speewah, except for scrabbling possums. Even with my hearing aids out, there is always intrusive sound on Greenwood and Thuringowa Drives. And of course Kirwan has ambient artificial light on all sides, while our cottage grounds were bathed only in moonlight filtered by rainforest.
That lack of light, such an aid to sleep, posed its own problems when we took Yannie for her pre-bedtime walk. Leisa sported a headband torch, but how could we be sure that an indistinct shape looming up through the gloom wasn’t a cassowary or wild pig, endemic in the area? It can truly be said of them, that you don’t want to meet them on a dark night. In literature, sacred and secular, the dark has always hinted at unseen terrors. And at being lost, unable to make out a path. Not knowing what’s in store.
An acquaintance – a bishop, no less! – is working his way through the Septuagint, the Hebrew scriptures in Greek (as bishops are wont to do). He translated Exodus 20:21b as “ … but Moses went into the utter darkness where God was”. God has given the Ten Commandments to Moses to give to the people, and is about to give more rules of conduct. The people are terrified of the dark from which Moses has come and into which he is going back. Just as we are in cassowary-and-pig-land, and just as we are in that metaphorical darkness when we can’t see what the future holds, what our path should be, what might be lurking to harm us or those we love. Utter darkness. But darkness where God is. Psalm 139: If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.