Every spring, the fifth grade class from our school spends a few nights at Blue Jay Point on the shores of Falls Lake. Their teachers and some parents accompany them. One night last week I went out there for a visit. I arrived just after they had made s’mores around a big fire and just in time for a “night walk” down a trail from the main lodge to the lake. Darkness was just beginning to fall.
One of the teachers leads the way. You can see that the students are excited and a little nervous as they get ready for their walk – no cell phones and very little light. Their teacher settles them, asks them to be quiet, and they are. Pay attention, she tells them, to what you notice around you, even in the dark. Look up at the sky. What sounds do you hear? Stop for a moment, close your eyes, open your eyes – what do you see?
In last week’s gospel we heard the question of Thomas to Jesus: “we don’t know where you are going, how can we know the way?” Life can seem like that sometimes and it felt a little like that on the trail last week at Blue Jay Point. At one point on the trail, the teacher stopped and asked everyone to be quiet
for a moment. There was only the silence of the woods. And she said, as we continue our walk, let’s watch and listen with a sense of awe and wonder.
One of the students said to me that the night before, they looked up and saw four moons of Jupiter shining in the night sky. The students had no cell phones, no technology at all, only the primal experience of being outside in the woods at night, secure among their friends and teachers and parents, open to the
mystery of what the darkness offered.
It was a moment of deep appreciation and wonder for the beauty of the created world and maybe an answer to the question that Thomas asks in last week’s gospel about “knowing the way.” “How can we know the way” is a question that comes up often in a parish: how do I find my way after the death of a spouse? How do I find my way after I’ve lost my job? How do I find my way after a divorce or separation? How do I find my way in the world now that I’ve
graduated from high school, college, TFS?
Maybe the answer is that the “way” is sometimes shrouded in darkness and unknowing, but that amid all of that, there is a light that shines ahead of us,
the light of the risen Christ who shows us the way, sometimes clearly, sometimes dimly through the trees at night, but always with us on our way. Many thanks to all who helped organize the experience!
Thank you as well to all who contributed to the siding project for the friary. You can see that work has begun on this project, and we expect the work
to be completed sometime within the next week or so.
Blessings on your week!