LATE NIGHT SURPRISE
Last weekend, after the Sunday morning live-streamed Mass at 11 AM, Jeff Regan (our computer/tech guru) and I chatted about the different ways we need to continue to reach out and cast the net using our technology and equipment trying to bring people closer to Christ and build up their faith during this pandemic and beyond. We as a parish have been continuing to enhance and expand our reach through modern means for the last 4 years.
Late Sunday night—or really, very early Monday morning, Jeff was testing a new re-streaming service we have signed up for that will help us stream to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Twitch. This service takes our stream and distributes them to the others. In order to test the connection, Jeff decided to send a live-stream shot of the crucifix in the darkened worship space. He was testing the signal making sure it made all the connections. Well it did for sure—much further than we thought.
A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS
When I got up on Monday morning and checked my phone, I saw that people loved the opportunity to see the church in this light—comments on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube proved it. An opportunity that I get to see most every night was something many don’t get to see at all. It really made me think about “What More Do We See?”
THE ONLY LIGHT WE NEED
This past week I took time each night to pray in the worship space with only the light on the crucifix. I am very often at the parish late at night, but this past week I took some extra time to pray before the Lord on the cross, looking for deeper meaning and grace during this time of pandemic but also seeking the opportunity to look past the obvious!! Here is what I have discovered.
(1) WE LIVE IN DARKNESS
We live in a world right now that is filled with pain, suffering and divisions. There is no question, that we need change but we cannot fear the night. The darkness of sin, injustice, inequality and deep seeded divisions based on finances, race and religion are totally obvious. It may feel like we are in complete darkness with no way out. But in my time of prayer, I experienced something different.
The darkness of the worship space made me focus on Christ crucified. There were no distractions, no competing figures and no other source of light. Jesus became the total focus and so the darkness of the room helped me draw closer to the Lord. This made me think about how I can help heal the divisions, injustice and shed light in our world. One of the key ways to do this is to push aside everything that takes me away from the Lord. To seek only Him. Once we are focused on Jesus, we don’t need anyone or anything else.
(2) SEEING IN THE DARK
After spending some time in the Worship Space, my eyes adjusted to the darkness and allowed the light of the cross to see things I could not see at the beginning. This reminded me that sometimes we do need to be in the dark, we do need to let go of everything so that we can see things in the darkness. I was able to see the pews, altar and ambo in a different light, with a different perspective.
Sometimes we are afraid to be in the dark—yet this may cause us to miss things that we have never seen before. May we be patient so that our eyes and our hearts adjust so that we can see what we never thought we could — seeing in the dark!!
(3) THE SOURCE OF LIGHT
The final epiphany I was reminded of during my nights praying in the darkness of the church, is that everything else fades in our lives but the light of the cross—Christ’s ultimate sacrifice of love for us. That eternal light can never fade and it is the only light that can shine on our path. We simply need to keep our eyes on Jesus, who was willing to lay down His life for us.
In order for that light to continue to shine, we then too, need to lay down our lives for one another. As faithful and loving disciples, we continue the grace of salvation through our own sufferings for the sake of the Good News.
THE LORD SURPRISES US WITH JOY
We need to remember that being in the darkness is ok as long as we stay focused on the light of Jesus in our lives. We can’t avoid dark times, but they are only for a time. The darkness reminds us that we need to look deeper and ask ourselves “What More Do We See?”
If we are patient and ask that question, with perseverance and trust we can discover great things about God and ourselves—the Lord will surprise us with grace—we need not just to satisfy our thirst but to empower us to be those faithful disciples offering light, love and peace to those who are in need. We can become the joyful grace and love people need. There is no question that our world needs that today more than ever!!
A FEW MOMENTS OF DARKNESS
As the comments continue to be shared online, I am still joyfully surprised that an unplanned video test in the dark could move so many people to be filled with hope and light.
No homily and no program could do that so well, but a random test, a quiet dark room, stirred the hearts of many people and has helped me trust the Lord in the darkness—because no matter how challenging life can get, the light of the cross will always bring me peace, love and lead me home. May you take the time to gaze upon the Lord, who loves us to the end!!