Navigating the Season of Darkness

By:  Rev. Gary James


Navigating the Season of Darkness:

Reflections on the Winter of the Heart

In our generation, to mention spirituality is to evoke images of the long-day suns of summer.  Rarely does the storm of a troubled heart receive its chance to be heard in most American’s approach to spirituality.   We describe ourselves – Unitarian Universalists – as “the children of the enlightenment.”  Optimistic, forward looking, engineers of the future, creating the world of tomorrow – progressively constructing that perfect system, in which all shadows flee away, and all people are made good and happy!  Pragmatic to a fault, we like to shine a bright light on “the problem,” and get it solved.

The journey I want to take with you leads to a different kind of enlightenment, an enlightenment beyond enlightenment.  On this journey, going means letting go, letting go of the light.  It’s not all that hard to get enlightened; what is much more difficult is to keep giving up our sense of the world so that the world, in all of its seasons, especially winter – the season of cold and darkness – can come to us on its own terms, with its vast, pitiless, loving intelligence.

In the winter of the heart one is invited to discover a faith that grapples with pain and uncertainty; grapples with evil, loss, and the mystery of death, and in so doing, discovers hope and a deep joy on the winter-fallow landscape.  This coming Sunday I offer you a meditation on the winter season of the heart and the possibility such a somber reflection offers of insight, strength, endurance, and a sure, sober faith.


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