Worshipping in Darkness

For six months the darkness has grown, soaking our evenings, our routines, our lives, in night. With it has come colder temperatures and the yearning to stay inside and keep warm. Night has spread and our lives have changed.

Darkness reaches its fullness on the winter solstice, Tuesday, December 21, when night endures for 14 hours and 40 minutes in the Philadelphia area. Daylight, which lasts only nine hours and 20 minutes, is a full five hours and 41 minutes shorter than it is on the summer solstice. A weighty sum of light has been lost in six months.

On the longest night of the year we intentionally choose to come together as a church community to proclaim the truth that darkness will never truly overcome the light. We gather to support one another as we traverse the darkness in our lives, in whatever form it manifests. At a time of year filled with lights and cheer, we remember that for many people this season is anything but celebratory and joyful.

The Longest Night Worship Service is for all those who feel the darkness more than the light during the Christmas season. It’s for those with questions and concerns, those struggling to make sense of our world and their lives. It’s also for their friends and loved ones, for all those journeying alongside someone who finds the season cold and lonely.

You are invited to come just as you are. Come with your doubts and pains, your questions and frustrations. Come and lay it before the God who truly is Emmanuel, God with Us, even if we cannot believe it right now. On this evening we will sing and pray, express our doubts and our hopes, light candles, and spend time in silence. I will offer a short meditation, and our worship will be led by members of the Singing City Choir, Nate Zullinger, its Associate Conductor, and our own Jeffrey Brillhart, who also serves as Singing City’s Artistic and Music Director.

In all these things, we will be reminded that we are not alone, Christ is with us, and we are here for one another. This is the true joy of Christmas – that God became human to be with us, and that we can bring all of who we are before God, even when the darkness is at its strongest.

The Longest Night Worship Service will be Tuesday, December 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. All are welcome to attend this service in person or participate virtually via livestream at www.bmpc.org/livestream.