By Ken Woodley
On some mornings, I step outside and imagine myself among the Galilean hills, standing by the shore, waiting for the sea to brush my soles with its foam, feeling close to Jesus.
This morning, however, seems to cry all around me, tears falling from the sky as the remnants of Hurricane Zeta begin to drench and ruffle me.
I also feel a spreading sorrow for the summer that has already gone and the autumn whose departure grows too close every day.
Yes, I am full of my usual melancholy as I prepare for the darkness to find me an hour earlier this Sunday, Daylight Saving Time having withdrawn all of its deposits in my 2020 account.
The world is telling us we must “fall back.” Hurricane Zeta only increases my own seasonal backwards momentum.
And, with COVID-19, it’s all going to feel darker, I fear. Then there is the election on Tuesday and my anxiety for the human darkness that may follow in the days and weeks after the votes are counted.
So, “Joy To The World” isn’t hanging on my lips. More like The Doors’ “Riders On The Storm,” for sure.
The Sea of Galilee seems nowhere in sight.
But then I take a second glance.
Just to make sure.
Looking at the world through what my friend, the Rev. Glenn Busch, described in a sermon once as “Easter Eyes.”
My soul now begins tuning my eyes to subtle signs of resurrection amid the descending darkness and winter’s coming eraser.
I find them, subtle whispers of a different kind of dawn.
The invisible sun—stuck behind storming clouds—seems to be shining through the autumn leaves of orange, yellow and red.
Seen through my Easter Eyes, they seem lit up from within to such a degree that the world around me appears to be filled with light.
Each leaf is a glowing ember that eases my mind and warms my soul as I see the truth:
The light that really matters doesn’t rise and fall from the east into the west each day, and the departure of Daylight Saving Time cannot take that spiritual light away. Nor can a hurricane or its remnants blow it away.
We can set our clocks back one, two or 10 hours and that doesn’t matter at all as long as we don’t “fall back” spiritually simply because the darkness seems to be rushing toward us so much faster now.
The light that matters most finds a way to shine despite the world around it.
Just like Jesus said it would.
Like un-corked champagne from a shaken bottle, it simply cannot be stopped.
Each year at this time, I seem to forget this Good News, however, until I stumble on the grace of remembering just in time.
God reaches the light of love into the world through our willing hearts even when every clock on the planet is re-set to accommodate a season of increasing darkness.
Sometimes, in fact, only the dark can translate the immortal language of the truest light into words we can understand and share with one another.
Especially with those who feel leafless and silhouetted against a sky to which they are praying for light—as we all can often feel in the world today.
The Holy Spirit suddenly blows my falling leaves into yours.
And, just now, yours into mine.
They are so mixed up together that I cannot tell whose are which and which are whose.
But, it doesn’t matter.
We shine, however dimly it may sometimes seem.
There is no meaningless light when one feels lost in the dark.
When our faith only has the strength to flicker, it is still, in its own way, incandescent.
Yes, the sun will set an hour earlier on Sunday, but the light that God has given us doesn’t have to follow it into darkness unless we let it slip out of our soul.
Let’s tell the world that we refuse to fall back. Let’s tell the world that we shall keep on springing ahead, instead.
By Ken Woodley