Mark 15:33

At midday, a darkness came over the whole country, lasting until three in the afternoon.

noon to three
a fine time
for a siesta

just a little nap
after a difficult morning
what the doctor ordered

oblivion sweet oblivion
quite needed now
oblivion dark oblivion

no more alert
no more choice
only quiet time

I’ve eclipsed myself
initiated stealth mode
won’t be long

The last of the plagues before the final one of the death of first-born children and domesticated animals was a palpable darkness, one that could be felt (Exodus 10:21–23).

That darkness lasted for the symbolic three days. This darkness lasts for a symbolic three hours.

In Moses’ day, it is recorded that while darkness hung over the Egyptians, the Israelites each had the equivalent of their own bubble of light going where they went.

This parallelism would bring a wonderment about where light was still shining during these three hours and what might be considered a final plague too great for the most powerful and entrenched authorities to resist—thus unraveling everything the current regime counted on.

Behind both darknesses is a comparison with Genesis 1 and both primordial darkness and creation of light. The darkness here is also the deepest of wildernesses that, later, St. John of the Cross would name a Dark Night. This darkness will require what every wilderness does, recognition of what has gone awry, purgation, and a vision of a way beyond it, ascent.

Nothing else happens during this sojourn in a wilderness. It is as though the mockers are caught mid-breath and suspended. Likewise, disciples around the edges, draw no closer. Everyone lingers in amaze, waiting for the world to go on again. [Listen to Jean Redpath sing The Song of the Seals.]

At noon, metaphorically the height of power for both Rome and the Sanhedrin, their light blinks out. Their claim of providing “good news” has been eclipsed without anyone moving a muscle. Darkness has come. Light awaits a wilderness deepening absence and unwitnessed rising. Light awaits a Reader’s response.

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