This is a hard night. A night of swords and chains and hatred and violence. This is the last night of Jesus’ life- a life given for others, and in the end, a life taken by others. Tonight we, like Jesus, sit in silence and contemplate love and hatred, welcome and rejection, joy and fear. Tonight we remember Jesus, the light of the world, still shining bright in a night of darkness and despair.
Daylight saving has ended, nights are longer and the days are colder. We sit in isolation in our homes separated from friends and loved ones. We feel alone, vulnerable and aimless as we wait for the time when it is safe to restart our lives. That seems a long and distant hope right now as we endure isolation and loneliness.
Our candle is alone. A single source of light in a darkened world. On this night Jesus was alone. Deserted by his followers and his friends. He had no choice but to face the coming darkness on his own.
On this night, the last night of Jesus’ life, he sat in the darkness, contemplating his life’s work. Was it enough? Had he succeeded? Was he ready for the coming storm? Did he have the strength to endure it? In the Garden of Gethsemene Jesus sat and waited in anguish and fear.
In his anguish he cried “If it is possible take this cup from me.”
Abandoned and alone Jesus waited for his executioners to arrive and do their work, tell their lies, and commit their sin.
In darkness we await the dawning of Good Friday. In the quiet and peacefulness of the night Jesus awaited the violence and malevolence of the hatred of those that did not understand, didn’t try to think beyond their small world view, those who exchanged love for hate and kindness for a cross.
He would endure. He would see it through. He would ensure love would win out over hatred. But the road would be hard and would end not in the cold victory of a Roman cross and the ridicule of the crowd. But still he would endure.