Walking into Darkness is a Lenten Liturgy using readings from Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark. It was developed in collaboration after a discussion between Tim and I sparked the idea. My congregation will be “walking into darkness” this Lent using this liturgy. We are sharing it with you in hopes it will be helpful and may inspire creativity and adaption to your context. The liturgy for the First Sunday of Lent, and the notes of explanation, are included in this post.
The full series may be accessed through this link – Lenten Liturgy: Walking into Darkness.
First Sunday of Lent – Facing our Fears
Sermon Scripture: Exodus 20:1-3; 18-21
First step into Tenebrae darkness – Matt 8:11-12
Reading from Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor
“Courage,” [James Bremner writes], “which is no more than the management of fear, must be practiced. For this, children need a widespread, easily obtained, cheap, renewable source of something scary but not actually dangerous.” Darkness, he says, fits that bill… How do we develop the courage to walk in the dark if we are never asked to practice?… The connection between light and safety may never be fully understood… since what light can really do and what we imagine it can do are not completely different things. If we believe a bright security light keeps us safer after dark, there is not a statistic in the world with power to persuade us otherwise. (pages 37, 71)
O Lord for whom the night is as day, we confess our fear of the dark. From childhood anxieties of monsters under the bed, to fears of criminals hiding in darkened streets, we imagine the worst when we cannot see. We admit that our fears run wild in our minds when we feel vulnerable. Forgive us when we consciously make wasteful and hurtful decisions based on irrational fears. Grant us the courage to walk in the dark, to practice calming our fears and trusting your presence even there. Teach us to walk in faith – the conviction of things not seen – and not in fear. In the name of Jesus, who shines in the darkness and is not overcome, we pray, AMEN.
Alternative testimony on facing fears
Kyrie & extinguishing the first candle
Assurance of Forgiveness – Psalm 139:1-2, 7-12, 23-24
Leader: Friends, believe the good news of God.
All: In Jesus Christ, we are made whole.