The Darkness And The Light: Wisdom From U2 To Tutu


Hello Honeybees and Happy Solstice!

I never thought much about this day, coming mid-holiday-buzz as it does, until I was studying at Divinity School. One of the greatest things about Div School is that worship is reintegrated into the normal course of things – there are midweek services, blessings at all sorts of gatherings, and a wonderful intermingling of the sacred and the everyday. And my favorite service of the whole year was held in the pitch dark of December, a multifaith celebration of light. Did you know that light holds significance in every spiritual tradition? I suppose it’s no surprise, but it is also a wonderful reminder that the pattern of natural seasons on earth is one thing that all of our planet’s inhabitants share.

I could go on and on, but darkness and light have been such enduring themes for human beings that there are many others who have already said all I could ever want to say. Here then, are my favorite reflections on the darkness and the light.

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
– T.S. Eliot

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.
– Erasmus

There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
– Leonard Cohen

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being. – Karl Jung

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe, and enough shadow to blind those who don’t.
— Blaise Pascal

And if the night runs over
And if the day won’t last
And if our way should falter
Along this stony pass
It’s just a moment
This time will pass
– U2

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
– Desmond Tutu

Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.
– Rabindranath Tagore

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
– Marianne Williamson

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.
It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.
– Mary Oliver

What is to give light must endure burning.
– Viktor Frankl

Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.
– Walt Whitman

The sun is gone, but I have a light.
– Kurt Cobain

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
– Anton Chekhov

Here comes the sun, and I say / It’s all right
– The Beatles

It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher.
– William Wordsworth

Dear friends, as we pause here on the edge of the seasons, on this darkest day of the year, I wish you peace, joy, and light.

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