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Wednesday, September 18, 2013


"I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..."
Psalm 23

In times of trouble, despair, fear and loss a place to which I often turn for comfort is the 23rd Psalm of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.  I have done just that this week as in my own neighborhood tragedy visited the Washington, DC Navy Yard, then quickly echoed throughout the community and country.  At the same time pounding rains feeding raging flood waters subsided in Colorado to reveal more loss of life, property and livelihood.  

As shocking and disturbing as these tragic events are in our communal lives, the pain and grief of those who lost family and friends is even more profound.  It is times like these when we, the ones left behind, truly are in the "shadow of death."  

But we must remember, being in the shadow is not death itself.  We are still here, painful and confusing as it may be at times.  And, even though we are in a shadow, we know that somewhere there is light.  However, sometimes the shadow is so dark, so faint we think we are in darkness.  But because there can be no shadow without light, we know it is there - somewhere.  So we turn, looking, seeking the light. 

In most spiritual and religious traditions the image of light is intertwined and often synonymous with the Holy, the Eternal, the Divine, God.  In nearly every tradition there are teachings that this Holy, Eternal, Divine, God - Light is not only other and apart from us but also within each of us as the spark of life itself.  

So, when in shadows and we turn outward finding only more shadows, perhaps turning inward we discover the spark that is our own life waiting to be kindled.

"...I will fear no evil for God is with me."
Psalm 23

“You are the light of the world...No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others..."

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