This summer Fr. Lonnie led a special adult Sunday School series exploring Barbara Brown Taylor’s new book Learning to Walk in the Dark. Throughout the book Taylor explores darkness of all kinds, challenging long held assumptions that correlate God only with images of light. Sometimes, she argues, it’s precisely in the darkness that we encounter God most clearly and unavoidably.
In the final class, groups were challenged to write collects (prayers) in which darkness is understood not as threat, but as gift. The following are their results.
Unknowable, mysterious, humbling Source of all, you brought us forth in darkness into this unfathomable, mystical life: Help us to embrace the shadows and quieten the fears of darkness, that we may discover your love and better understand this life; in the name of the Infinite Presence. Amen.
Lord God, who created not only the day but also the night: give us an appreciation of those dark times in our lives that draw us closer to you, and give us an awareness that even in the darkness you are with us; in your holy Name. Amen.
Almighty Father, teacher of peace: as in the beginning when you created balance between all things, please show us the way to embrace both the dark and the light as equal necessities in our lives, not seeing the dark as an enemy, but as a crucial teacher of faith; Father, we praise you for granting us peace, with the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Almighty God, kindle in us your fire of darkness that we may be illuminated with clarity of purpose for our lives, according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O God, the creator of the darkness and the stars in the heavens: Enlighten us to the gifts that are contained in your darkness; in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
O loving and merciful Father, who out of the darkness created our world: hold us in your heavenly embrace, now and forever. Grant us peace in a chaotic world; help us to remember that through the darkness of the crucifixion, you are always with us; in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Almighty God, creator of all that is, seen and unseen, who sent Joseph a dream to take the infant Jesus to Egypt: guide us safely on paths we cannot see, and give us courage to see the beauty and comfort in darkness. Praise the God of all things, light and dark; the Son, the baby born in the dark who is the light of the world; and the Holy Spirit, who never leaves us. Amen.