Friday, April 03, 2009

Blackout: A metaphor of spiritual darkness

A parable for Lent

A prophetic word by Emil Brunner

During wartime blackout practices we noticed what life would be like without light, how weird everything was, how one took uncertain steps, how quickly one lost his way, how easily one collided. The blackout is said to have cost more lives in England than the war.

That may be a parable for us of what darkness in the spiritual sense means in the individual life of man and in the life of nations. You know, indeed, how it is when it is simply dark in us and around us, when we do not know in and out, when it is like a devilish darkening over our mind, and we ourselves think, feel, and do what the light shuns. That the Bible calls 'wandering in darkness.' But it can happen that one becomes accustomed to this darkness so that he does not notice how terrible, how inhuman, how contrary to sense all life then becomes. And as in individuals, so in the life of nations. Now is a blackout time in the whole world of nations, as perhaps never at all before.

For earlier one still knew that there is a God, that there is a righteousness, that finally a retribution comes, that there are holy laws and orders. But today there are millions and millions of Europeans – about the others I do not wish to speak – now who no longer know all that, who have radically struck God from their hearts and lives and who therefore live entirely in darkness and who do the works of darkness.

We see today and thank God; many who did not see it are now finally beginning to see it that one cannot live without God. But perhaps it is already too late; perhaps the darkness of godlessness must first give vent to its fury before better times can come. The power of darkness seems today to have received a free night from God that it may crush to pieces what it wills so that the nations realize to what place one comes when he abolishes God.


Emil Brunner, I Believe in the Living God, 43-44.

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