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Thought for the weekend

Allen Sleith


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'Children often have an innate way of not only charming us, but changing how we look at life.' (Gareth Fuller/PA)

'Children often have an innate way of not only charming us, but changing how we look at life.' (Gareth Fuller/PA)

PA

'Children often have an innate way of not only charming us, but changing how we look at life.' (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Children often have an innate way of not only charming us, but changing how we look at life. What we might think of as quirky can give a fresh perspective that gets us closer to reality.

A friend of mine says that, when he was putting his young son to bed years ago, he would read a story, then tiptoe to the door and, at just the moment of leaving the room, his son would quietly call out, "Okay, dad, you can turn on the dark now."

That's counter-intuitive, but maybe the son's on to something.

We moderns, with our technological dependence, tend to assume that constant light and noise and bustle and distraction, all readily available 24/7, are the norm for a normal life. But they're not.

They're relatively recent in human terms. We near-enough worship the idols of activity, busyness, productivity and consumption in today's Western society and that's our problem.

The human being is in danger of losing its very essence in such remorseless pursuits. We're stressed out - dehumanised.

An alternative perspective might hold more promise. I know John's gospel states that, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it" and I grant that we nearly always think of light as good and darkness as evil.

But ponder this. Darkness has its gifts to offer, too. Without enough regular, quality sleep, our whole being suffers seriously - a radical threat to our health.

Darkness means refreshment, renewal, even regeneration. And, spiritually, the Jews and our Bibles teach us much about Sabbath, a sacred time from Friday sundown to Saturday dusk - a subtle countermeasure to our consuming clockwork cycles.

Jesus was conceived and born in the dark of Mary's womb. He lay in a manger in night's embrace to be visited by shepherds and magi.

Three decades later, His passion unfolded in the shadows of human betrayal and darkness came over the land at His crucifixion.

We say He rose from the tomb on Easter morning, but more probably, He rose in the dead of night. By dawn, He was long gone.

There is in God (some say) a deep but dazzling darkness. Trust the luminous darkness. Walk in the darkness of faith. Loving communion whispers in such darkness.

Belfast Telegraph


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