Wednesday, December 24, 2008

When the Midnight Meets the Morning

“When the midnight meets the morning, let me love you even more.”
—Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer

Having just passed the darkest days of the year, I know well how dark it must be at midnight. This time of year in Alberta it’s dark at 8:20am and dark again by 4:00pm. So by the time midnight rolls around, it’s good and night.

But at some point what happens is that the night ends and the dark begins to lighten. I imagine this like some kind of invisible tipping point. Though none of us could see it happen—the dark would still look just as dark—there is one crucial difference: from that point on, the darkness would be heading toward morning.

This Christmas Eve I remember that moment when the “midnight meets the morning” somewhere in the middle of a seemingly endless night. What we need at that moment is greater love. Because though the scales have tipped toward lightening, the midnight still surrounds us and we are tempted to fear.

When the midnight meets the morning, when I have all but given up hope of anything but shadow, when it’s the deepest point of night, let me love you even more. Let that love keep me from giving up on you when my heart is cold and let me believe that somewhere in the midst of that night, because of your love, the morning has already begun.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Trustworthy Steward

“This is how one should regard us… as stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”

—1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (ESV)

There is a park near our house where I take the dog for his walk and let him run free. The minute he feels that subtle “click” freeing him from the leash, he goes nuts. He runs like a drunk, weaving in and out following invisible tracks, sniffing as he goes. Sometimes he doubles back, retracing his steps to get a closer smell of something; other times he pauses thoughtfully, head cocked sideways as if asking himself a question. I watch all this random haphazard intensity and I think, Stupid dog.

But with even the tiniest dusting of snow on the ground, something miraculous happens. What looks like random wandering suddenly makes sense, as there in the snow I can see the evidence of what draws his interest. There are the footprints of a person and beside it, prints of a smaller dog. There is the slightest brush of a bird’s wing and tiny v’s where birds stood. There are the tracks of a rabbit. There is the place another dog rolled in the snow. He follows those tracings religiously from one to another, following the path however winding it goes. And all at once, my dog goes from being a joy-filled idiot to being a wise and prudent tracker. I trust him now.

Maybe one day God will sprinkle the earth with something like snow so all the invisible mysteries of God will be made plain. In that day we’ll understand why the track doubled back, why we had to pause in that place, what the purpose was of following an inexplicable winding path. Until then we’ll have to trust that those who are stewards of the mysteries of God have got a whiff of something holy when we see them running in circles. And we’ll have to have imagination enough to chase along with them, with or without the snow to make it plain.