March 12, 2010

Darkness at Noon

Amos 8:9-12

“I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.”
Amos 8:9


In a memorable sermon, Frederick Buechner preached about what he called the “hungering dark.” The sermon was delivered in the late 1960s, a time of great social and political unrest in North America. Buechner suggested that “darkness” was a fitting description for the assassinations, dread of war, and riots at that time. But he also spoke of how darkness intensifies our craving for the light of Christ’s presence.

In this way the “hungering dark” is like our physical hunger. We are probably no more aware of our need for food than when we are hungry. Hunger is as much a craving for fullness as it is a testimony to emptiness.

Through the prophet Amos, God said that the judgment to come would be characterized by both darkness and hunger. The sun would go dark at noon, and people would hunger for words of God that they could not find, no matter where they looked.

That judgment is what Jesus experienced on the cross. When Jesus was crucified, there was darkness from noon till three (Matthew 27:45). He cried out to God, hungering for responses that never came. The Word of God fell silent amid the darkness at Golgotha. But that’s not all. On the cross we also see Jesus, the light of the world who pierces our darkness. And we receive the bread of life that satisfies our deepest hunger.

Lord Jesus, thank you for shining the light of your love into our hearts, and for feeding us with your Word. Help us to walk in your light. Feed a hungry world through us. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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