JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS
Darkness. We spend around half our days in it. It is completely essential to our existence and the ongoing life of the planet. And yet we fear it. We fear what it hides, what it distorts, what it inflicts. We focus in our sermons and songs on the light that overcomes the darkness, taking care not to look too deeply into the depths.
What if there was another way to engage the darkness? What if we might approach it with curiosity and reverence, begin to mine its depths for the treasures it holds? What if we might discover God there, in deepest darkness?
Barbara Brown Taylor says, “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.”
And so this Lent, you are invited on a seven week journey into that darkness. Together, we’ll explore it from many angles, travelling with the prophets and mystics of the faith, seeking the sacred in a space we often avoid.
“There is in God, some say, / A deep but dazzling darkness”, writes Henry Vaughan. It is that dazzling darkness we seek this Lent.
Introduction: ASH WEDNESDAY. Focus on the spiritual theme of Wilderness and what happens when everything is stripped away.
Session 1: BEGINNING. Introduction to the theme of Darkness; recognising the creative potential of darkness and our participation in that creation.
Session 2: MYSTERY. Darkness as hiding place; exploring the Mystery of God and how we engage with doubts, questions and the seeming absence of God.
Session 3: SHADOW. Understanding the shadow self - what is repressed and hidden in us; and exploring the idea that salvation is discovering our True Self in Christ.
Session 4: PAIN. Recognising the God who is with us in our suffering - indeed, who suffers with us - in the dark seasons where hope is hard to find.
Session 5: WOMB. Considering the rebirth we are called to, and what God knits together in the darkness.
Session 6: DAWN. Resurrection begins in the dark, and the dawn always follows the night - what does it look like to choose hope in the dark?
WHAT YOU'LL RECEIVE
You'll receive a PDF download with seven weeks of content! It includes written reflections, questions for responding, and lots of suggestions for ways you can creatively engage with the weekly theme. You'll ask receive a link to a bonus webpage with brand new recorded meditations - one for each week of Lent.
It is designed to meet you where you are at, so you can spend as much or as little time as works for you. You might like to go through each week's content in one go, or you might like to read the introduction on day one, and then do a little bit each day, to allow the theme to percolate.
There is also a private Facebook group open for the seven weeks of Lent, for those who would like to interact and engage with others working with the same content. You will receive an invitation to join the group with your introductory email.
During Holy Week, I will be hosting a Zoom call for everyone who participated, to experience the final meditation "live" together, and to reflect on what has been most meaningful, and what you hope to carry forward with you. (This will be recorded if you are unable to make the time scheduled).
ARE THERE LIVE CALLS OR EVENTS AS PART OF THE SERIES?
This Lent series is self led. You'll receive an email every Wednesday with all the content for working through at your own pace during that week. After Easter, I will host an optional Zoom call for all participants to reflect together on what emerged for you in the dark.
If you would prefer live calls, I am running a five session version of this series as the Lent course for Leicester Cathedral, together with Mirjam Ngoy, which consists of a weekly evening session. Find out more here.
I JOINED YOUR WINTER SOLSTICE RETREAT "GOD IN THE DARK" - IS THIS THE SAME?
This course is an expansion and extension of some of the themes we began to unpack on that Retreat. It will not feel repetitive because I have written new content, new meditations, and new invitations to reflection. In fact, if you found the Solstice Retreat meaningful, I'd say you're going to love this Lent course!
IS THIS AIMED AT A PARTICULAR FAITH OR DENOMINATION TRADITION?
This course is grounded in a Christian vision of the Divine and our world, specifically drawing on the contemplative and mystic traditions, which have often existed on the margins of mainstream Christian experience.
My hope is that this course will be accessible to a
CAN I COME ALONE?
Enter your answer here. Be thoughtful, write clearly and concisely, and consider adding written as well as visual examples. Go over what you’ve written to make sure that if it was the first time you were visiting the site, you’d understand the answer.
Working with Leicester Cathedral
I am delighted to be bringing an adapted version of this series to Leicester Cathedral as part of their Discipleship Programme. Together with fellow Spiritual Director Miriam Ngoy, I will be hosting five weekly zoom calls for the Cathedral community, exploring this theme of Dazzling Darkness. I am grateful to them for their support and enthusiasm for the topic!