Like Bruce Almighty, like so many of us, we need to be reminded (very obviously) over and over again in order for us to understand the call. And then after we are aware of it, we must delve ever deeper into our own ability to discern the will of God as we start to tread into that new and challenging territory.
One of the signs that we are hearing the Spirit’s call is that it doesn’t come just once, but keeps reverberating within us like echoing thunder. It’s like a voice deep inside keeps crying, “Home!” whenever we entertain a certain thought or direction. We yearn to follow in the direction of this voice just as a rubber ball held underwater strains to be set free to rise to the surface. Yet when we are being called to take a significant risk, we are also called to apply a higher degree of skepticism and discernment.
Elnes brings us full circle to the initial understanding that the Kingdom of God is built not on a fantastical vision of glory, but on a literally sinking Rock, the frustration of purpose – the inability of Simon Peter to walk on water.
It is a Rock that cannot stand alone upon the water, but can only be held up by a power much greater than itself; a Rock upon which all failure no matter how bitter may ultimately be redeemed and all fear is swallowed by the sea. A church built upon this Rock is not the church of the perfect, but the church of the misfits. Its saints find their place in this world in the heart of their struggles, not merely in their absence. This is a church born in the Dark Wood. It is a community that continues to thrive there, continuing to learn what it means to welcome and embrace those who have been excluded.
How has this journey into the Dark Wood helped you? What aspects of Elnes’ description of the Dark Wood resonated the most with you?
Our Pastor Marisa Brown-Ludwig gave a powerful sermon testifying to her own journey in the Dark Wood as she stood in the face of a significant health crisis. The sermon is a powerful example of the Dark Wood church in action, and an appropriate way to complete this lenten exploration. As Pastor Marisa says, on the edge of the wilderness there is “…the energy of new light after darkness, new hope after darkness, and the sun coming out after the rain is over and gone.”
Let us emerge from the wilderness together, and cherish every moment we have spent in the Dark Wood.