The deep, dazzling darkness of God
A deep but dazzling darkness.”
Dazzling darkness is just the sort of paradox writers of the middle ages and previous often used to describe how the deep and hidden things of God can break into our lesser understanding of God. In the Exodus account, we are told of Moses entering a cloud to experience God more deeply. Solomon asserted that God has said he will live in deep darkness. Alongside the imagery of God as light, we also find scripture that speaks of darkness. We learn from this darkness imagery primarily that God is God and we are not. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, God’s ways are not our ways.
In a sermon titled The Dark Night, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams’ puts it like this,
If you think devotional practices, theological insights, even charitable actions give you some sort of a purchase of God, you are still playing games. On the other hand, if you can accept and even rejoice in the experience of darkness, if you can accept that God is more than an idea that keeps your religion or philosophy or politics tidy—then you may find a way back to religion, philosophy, or politics, to an engagement with them that is more creative because you are more aware of the oddity, the uncontrollable quality of truth at the heart of all things.God cannot be controlled. Sometimes we will seek God and not find God, not because God is not there, for God is present in the silence, but because God avoids our every attempt at making God predictable, tame, safe.
Carry this with you as we continue our journey through the season of Lent to Easter. When you reach out to God and experience darkness and silence, God is in that darkness and silence. Sometimes darkness and silence are the only ways the God of light and word can get our attention. Don’t give up on God but pray for a deeper experience of him even as you feel most deeply God’s absence.
The above is adapted from a sermon in our archives, The Darkness of God
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church