“Treasures of Darkness” illustration by Gary Gaede

Advent Day 23 – Monday, December 24

“When the sun had gone down and it was dark, a smoking fire-pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram…” Genesis 15:17

When I gather a group to do liturgical drama, we’re always under pressure to produce a final product. We face an immovable deadline. But we almost always start without a script. It’s a little like falling without a parachute.

It starts with the church building, quietly empty.

The small group trickles in after another long day at work. The participants could have gone home to their quiet bedrooms. But they chose to gather in an empty church to listen for God.

We play a game. The Sanctuary echoes as we laugh.

We read scripture and record reactions on a white board. At some point the conversation turns deeply personal. We share our disappointments, our heartache, our quiet longing.

In daylight, we shy away from these conversations. But in the nighttime sanctuary, truthful words become the only words worth speaking.

In these moments I feel like Eli, the little boy who waited to hear the voice of God in the midnight temple. Or like Jacob, who wrestled with God until daybreak. Or Abram, whose God swore by the stars and walked in the shadow between a torch and a firepot.

Unlike prophets of old, though, I do not listen for God alone. As my friends and I connect our stories to the mysteries of God, we start to sense God’s presence in our conversation. Then I know it has happened again: God has appeared in the darkness to speak through silence.

God, send us into the darkness where the truth cannot hide. And send us with friends who will help us listen for your voice speaking there. Amen.

—Pr. Justin Kosec