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In the Shadows – Br. Luke Ditewig

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Br. Luke DitewigJohn 13:21-32

“Jesus was troubled in spirit.” He doesn’t say it, but they could see it on his face. The disciples were again confused and clueless, but they could tell. Jesus was troubled. He was sad and afraid, knowing he would be betrayed. Grieving the great loss and suffering to come, let alone at the hands of his friend, Jesus was troubled in spirit.

Remember Jesus on the storm-swept sea fast asleep in the bottom of the boat, exhausted from ministry. Remember Jesus greeting Mary and going to Lazarus’ tomb: “He was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved.” Onlookers said, “See how Jesus loved him!” (1) Overcome with grief, Jesus wept for and with his closest friends. Troubled and grieving, Jesus was human. Jesus’ humanity—shown in sleep, in tears, and a troubled face—is hopeful and instructive for us in Holy Week as we reflect on his suffering and death.

Tonight we will gather for Tenebrae which means shadows. We are invited to be in the dark. Let the lights go out and feel the dark emotions: sadness, pain, fear, loss, abandonment. Let ourselves, our spirits, be troubled. Don’t switch on the lights. Don’t numb the pain, avoid reality, or turn to the next chapter too soon.

Linger in the shadows, with sorrow and pain of the world and of your heart. What catches your attention? What moves you? What do you feel? Let Holy Week disturb you. Let yourself be troubled. Stay with Jesus who was troubled for and is now troubled with you.

Linger in the shadows with Jesus.


  1. John 11:33-38
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7 Comments

  1. Pat Barnes on March 28, 2018 at 12:39

    Thank you Brother Luke – I am so glad to be reminded of Jesus’ humanity. Tenebrae is always special…….

  2. Ruth West on March 28, 2018 at 11:50

    Br. Luke, thanks for this good message. These scriptures are one more proof of the humanity of Jesus. He suffered like as we do. He was troubled and distraught just as we are. He is a God to whom we can so relate in body, mind and spirit. Praise His name! Tonight we are beginning our celebration of Holy Week with the Stations of the Cross. These wonderful recitations remind us once more of the proof of the isolation and sorrow of our Lord Christ as He was lifted up to draw all of us to Him.

  3. Marta Engdahl on March 28, 2018 at 08:29

    The “darkness” is overwhelming, and the “sermon” is also overwhelming, to come up, “smacked up” (kenosis, emptied out), and left with only the feeling of loss, confusion, this darkness. It is “The Dark Night of the Soul” per St. John of the Cross. And, yet, we have to believe, somehow know in this darkness, or feel that Jesus will be, will continue to be with us. That is all that matters: to let the hope of the light, the resurrection, come back to stay with us for ever, and to lead us into his Kingdom.

  4. Mary on March 23, 2016 at 12:43

    Amazing food for thought. I love when my eyes and heart are opened to new ideas! Thanks!

  5. Enid Shields on April 3, 2015 at 00:19

    Thank you.

  6. Louise on April 2, 2015 at 22:20

    Thank you Br Luke. I have been cross with myself today for feeling strangely disconnected and unable to focus on Jesus and today’s solumn events. I am hearing in your sermon that perhaps these feelings are part of the shadows of the day–perhaps Jesus suffered similar feelings of isolation during His final Passover. I think I can stop trying to “fix” my feelings and just believe that I am going through these emotions along side of Jesus.

  7. elizabeth wright on April 2, 2015 at 12:16

    beautiful sermon. thank you so much brother luke.

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