By Sarah Cornwell
A Reading from Revelation 21:22-22:5
22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day — and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever.
It is now mid-November, and in certain parts of the world, the light is growing weaker and the days are growing shorter. If one lives very far north, soon there will be virtually no daylight at all, just a long winter of endless night. People who live in these regions have coping mechanisms for surviving the continual dark. There are festivals and cheery light displays and special sunlamps to help ward off the winter blues. Even still, it is impossible to deny the darkness, and several months in, many desperately long for the return of the sun. And then, slowly, the spring brings about a shift, and perpetual night becomes perpetual day, and by high summer, it is as bright at 3 a.m. as it is at 3 p.m.
Today we hear about the city of God: “And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.” We do not necessarily need to live in northern Scandinavia to understand the relief and joy one might feel stepping into perpetual light after a long, cold, and seemingly endless night. The darkness of uncertainty can haunt us as we wait on a medical diagnosis, an addiction treatment, a job offer, or the timing of a next paycheck or bill. We continue to grope our way through a global pandemic and a time of profound division and loneliness. We’ve lost loved ones or feel we’ve somehow lost ourselves. Yes, one way or another, we are familiar with the concept of a long, seemingly endless night. We are familiar with a desperate longing for the return of the sun.
Many of us are entering a seasonal darkness, and some of us may already be experiencing a time of spiritual darkness. Take heart. Light a candle. Pray. The darkness lasts but a short time, and soon, the Light will return to us, not for a season, but for all eternity.
Sarah Cornwell is a laywoman and an associate of the Eastern Province of the Community of St. Mary. She and her husband have six children and they live in the Hudson Valley north of New York City.
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Daily Devotional Cycle of Prayer
Today we pray for:
The Diocese of Hyderabad (Church of Pakistan)
St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Tucson, Ariz.