11 If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night’,
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end—I am still with you.
~ Psalm 139: 11-18 (NRSV)
This week I came across a quote from, Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor. In this quote I was reminded of the words of Psalm 139 above, a reminder that we are all formed in the darkness. Taylor is reflecting on an insight she had while hiking through a cave:
As many years as I have been listening to Easter sermons, I have never heard anyone talk about that part. Resurrection is always announced with Easter lilies, the sound of trumpets, bright streaming light. But it did not happen that way. If it happened in a cave, it happened in complete silence, in absolute darkness, with the smell of damp stone and dug earth in the air. Sitting deep in the heart of Organ Cave, I let this sink in: new life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark.
New life, new beginnings, and resurrection of all forms, are formed in the darkness. As we continue in this Easter season we are unsure of what is ahead, or how we will move forward. It may at times feel as though we are fumbling in the dark. But, as we watch plants poke their way back up through the dirt, leaves unfold, and maybe even glimpse an egg in a nest, we are reminded that new beginnings are all around us.
We are approaching an odd Mother's Day in this odd season. It carries the usual mix of pain and joy that Mother's Day brings. There will be children trying to do their best to at some of those daily tasks for mom, like making the breakfast. There will be phone calls across long distance. There will be stories told and memories shared of the mothers for whom we grieve. Some of this will feel normal and some will not.
Psalm 139 reminds us, as Taylor identifies in the quote above, that we are all formed in the darkness of the womb, even Jesus. Even if the woman you know as mother is not the one who gave you birth, there is a part of Mother's Day that reminds us all that we are formed through the gifts of others. We were intricately woven in the dark. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. And our Creator goes with us through each day guiding us and forming us, even if we feel like we are lost in the darkness.