“Treasures of Darkness” illustration by Gary Gaede

Advent Day 8 – Sunday, December 9

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Perhaps you remember their favorite places to sit in worship: Joan Bakke, Irene Peterson, Warren Jensen, Clarice Eitrheim, Loren Amundson, Jim Dedrickson, Jill
Stoefen-Fisher, Harry Krueger, Audrey Anderson, Truman and Nancy Phelan, Pr. Pete, Bob Elmen, among others. They gathered with the rest of us—sinners all—to hear promises of forgiveness, to receive the body and blood of Christ—to be raised from the dead.

At their funerals the prayer was offered: “Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.” I love those words, and knowing they will be spoken over me is light in a dark world.

In the past six months, beset by a health issue I’ve never dealt with before, my own mortality has kept me awake at night. The Lord’s Prayer or Psalm 23 take my mind away from myself to God’s actions and promises.

I’ve been blessed to live in a community with great health care. After six or seven
diagnostic tests and X-rays, I’m told that, for now, I continue the same course of medication. Diligent water therapy and physical exercise can potentially improve the situation and ward off back surgery.

In the meantime, and especially now in Advent, we will be “waiting, yearning, expecting, and believing” in the God who enters our broken world. The Word made flesh is that light which shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

Gracious God, thank you for the promises you made to me in my baptism. Renew me in those promises today. Amen.


—Martha Rossing