It’s always darkest before the dawn

It’s an old saying, but it’s been on our minds a lot recently. Many folks in our community have been going through a lot of darkness — grieving, depression, feelings of wandering — and we wanted to create a space in our worship to give voice to that pain. The Christian liturgical calendar is pointed that way, too: Lent is reminiscent of a time wandering in the wilderness, of fighting off those dark forces that want to take hold.

Our service last Wednesday was poignant and moving, and we want to share a few pieces of the songs, words, and messages that were shared — some nourishment for the journey:

  • Keep Your Head Up” by Ben Howard  (“Keep your head up, keep your mind set, keep your heart strong…”)
  • “Like a wild animal, the soul is tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient: it knows how to survive in hard places. I learned about these qualities during my bouts with depression. In that deadly darkness, the faculties I had always depended on collapsed. My intellect was useless; my emotions were dead; my will was impotent; my ego was shattered. But from time to time, deep in the thickets of my inner wilderness, I could sense the presence of something that knew how to stay alive even when the rest of me wanted to die. That something was my tough and tenacious soul.”
    ― Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life 
  • Mona Lisa” by Guster (“Hadn’t the strength then, hadn’t the chance to reveal but it’s all, it’s all in your hands… When do we begin?”)
  • “Darkness doesn’t win. Love has the final word.” -Rebecca Hinds
  • Shake it Off” by Florence + The Machine   (“It’s always darkest before the dawn … Shake it out, shake it out! It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off!”)

We ended with singing “Guide My Feet,” which Mark Buckles introduced by saying that it could either be directed to the Divine, or to our community. It brought home the fact that even if we are going through the darkness, we are not going through it alone. We’ve got our community, and we’ve got our tough and tenacious souls.

group shot 2

Some of the tough and tenacious souls at The Sanctuary, as they tenaciously wait in line for food.