At Twilight


a thousand candles burning

in memory

I savor the cool air of a quiet dusk, the trees still dripping with rain from a downpour earlier in the evening. I walk down my favorite street alongside the leafy banks of the creek,  stop to listen to frogs calling back and forth, and then find myself wandering in the direction of the honeysuckle bushes nestled into the overgrowth of a steep slope where the creek is hidden from view.

My mind wanders as well, thinking with sadness of the national and global loss of life over the past month. Irreplaceable sons lost to unjust, hard-to-comprehend shootings. Thousands of loved ones in India and other regions lost to COVID. The mothers of acquaintances from my home town lost to cancer. So much grief.

So many candles burning in memory of those lights snuffed out.

I round the bend and smell that luscious perfume on the breeze. Even in the almost-darkness of twilight, the white honeysuckle blooms reflect the light left in the gray clouds. Each flowering branch is a tiny menorah, glowing to remind us that there is a greater, brighter light somewhere far away yet close enough to seep through water-logged clouds, reach into a shadowy crevice of earth, and touch them.

Let there be light. Words spoken to clothe the dark earth at the beginning of time by the source of light.

And centuries later, this: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

A truth that is only experienced when the soul is reborn and the Light of the World—that source of light himself—shines into the heart. A spiritual reality that will one day culminate when the world is reborn.

The Light of the World. He came down from somewhere far away, reaching into the crevices of life on earth to touch humanity. He wrapped himself in darkness, traversing the valley of the shadow of death and carrying our grief on the way to an unjust execution.

He truly was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him—even when his glory shone from the empty tomb.

It is, even now, not too late to recognize him—through the twilight of tears or in row after row of honeysuckle blossoms filling the branches with a thousand burning candles. He is not far away but has drawn us near. The comfort of his presence is always ready for the asking.

For further reading:

Genesis 1

John 1:1-18

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