Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Light and Darkness




This is a particularly bleak photo by Salvadhor of ice people walking in the dark night of time. They seem to be following in single file towards an even darker place. It reminds me of some lines from 'East Coker', the 2nd of T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets:

"O dark dark dark, they all go into the dark, 
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant, 
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters, 
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers, 
Distinguished civil servants, 
chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, 
they all go into the dark..."

That poem (published March 1940) is not entirely bleak. It is a reflection on the cycle of life, death, decay and regeneration. Eliot struggles with the limitations of words to express meaning in poetry and to convey religious truth. By the time he wrote this he had become a Christian and East Coker has clear allusions to Good Friday and the meaning of the death of Christ.


In the New Testament reading for Morning Prayer today Jesus foretells his death as he taught in the temple in Jerusalem. His meaning was hard to understand. He said he was going "where you cannot come" which some of his hearers thought meant he was planning to kill himself. This followed his teaching in the temple at Jerusalem, in which he said,
"I am the light of the world. 
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life."

This post is the 22nd in a series of daily Lenten reflections based on a Bible reading from the Common worship Lectionary of the Church of England. This one is based on John 8: 12 - 30.


2 comments:

  1. I believe that if someone really believe in God they will never walk in darkness.

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    1. I agree, but I think that it is a common human experience to feel overwhelmed by 'darkness' at times. Even Jesus was not immune to going through such depths. He suffered and died. I think the poet T.S. Eliot was reflecting on death when speaking of "they all go into the dark". I see dying and death as a very real going into the dark, but Christians die in the hope of resurrection to eternal life, a hope based on the Resurrection of Jesus.

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