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And it was night! – Br. James Koester

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Of all the days in Holy Week, this is the one which I find most poignant. On another significant occasion we have been told in John’s Gospel that Jesus’ “time has not yet come”.[1] He was not yet ready. We were not yet ready. The world was not yet ready. God was not yet ready. But today, today all this is changed. Gathered there in the Upper Room with his disciples, Jesus declares “now!” “Now the Son of man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.”[2]

So what has changed? Why now? Why not before, or some other time, or even some other place? Why here? What now? This difference is that “it was night”[3]; three of the coldest, loneliest words in Scripture …“it was night.” It was into the darkness and under the cloak of darkness that Judas went to do his deed of betrayal.

We can all remember a time when we were afraid of the dark. Perhaps, on occasion we still are. I know I am. When I am alone, in the unknown, or even the well known I sometimes catch a glimpse of the fear of the dark that kept me awake as a small boy.

It was into the darkness of that night, into the darkness of that fear that Judas went in order to betray the Lord. And in the moment of that darkness, in the moment of that fear the time became ripe for the fullness God’s work of salvation to be completed. “And it was night.”

It’s not that God can’t, or doesn’t, or won’t work during the brightness of the day, but we need God most in those moments of our life that are full of darkness and fear. It is then when our lives and our worlds are at their darkest that we need God’s life and light and love the most.

If you have ever been or are even now afraid of the dark, afraid of the darkness of your own life, afraid of the darkness of the life of another, afraid of the darkness of the world, take courage for as terrifying as it can be Holy Week promises us that God is at work even there, even then, even now.

We only know the relief of dawn when the terrors of the night have kept us awake. We only know the joy of resurrection when the fear of darkness has clutched our hearts, but even there, even then, even now God is at work in your life. Take courage. Now is God’s time in your life.


[1] John 7:6 and John 7:8

[2] John 13:31

[3] John 13:30

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1 Comment

  1. Eileen Harakal on April 20, 2011 at 20:56

    This is the perfect Holy Thursday sermon that I will read tomorrow to people who have HIV/AIDS, also recovering from substance abuse (alcohol or drugs or both) some with former prison sentences and gang-banging pasts, and for the women, many of them, physical abuse starting in their childhoods. I am on the spiritual care team at a wonderful residential facility where our people really know “night” so well. It’s my turn to lead the discussion tomorrow, and I will ask them to think about how they have navigated in the dark for so long, and how God’s light and love have raised them up to new life. Thank you for being our inspiration tomorrow. Blessings to all my Brothers for Holy Week and Easter.

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