Help During Times of Darkness

Luke 23:50-56

A few years ago, I was driving home from church on a Wednesday night when the greatest number of emergency vehicles that I had ever seen whizzed past me on the other side of the highway, their bright lights flickering and sirens blaring. I soon discovered that a fertilizer plant in the neighboring town of West, Texas had exploded. We were all in shock as we heard reports about those who had died, those who were injured, and those whose homes had been destroyed.

The next day, people stood in line in the pouring rain to donate blood. Our local grocery stores were emptied out as people purchased bottled water, food, and supplies for emergency personnel. Social media seemed to be filled with postings from people offering up spaces in their homes for those who were displaced by the explosion. No one knew exactly what to do, but everyone wanted to do something.

I wonder if that might be how Joseph and the women felt after Jesus’ death on the cross. The author of Luke pays careful attention to their actions: Joseph went to Pilate, asked for the body of Jesus, took the body, wrapped the body, and laid the body. Likewise, the women followed Joseph, returned home, and prepared the spices. I wonder if, in the pain and shock of it all, they just wanted to do something.

During times of darkness, it’s so easy to want to shrink back into ourselves. Perhaps the pain just seems too great to want to do anything at all. But at times, just doing something helps shine the tiniest sliver of light, reminding all of us that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light (John 1:5).

This post originally appeared in Volume 26.2 of Reflections.

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