Sunday, April 20, 2014

Of Darkness and Light

The view during Sunrise Service this morning
When I first began to tell people I was moving to Prague, those who had traveled here before began to tell me of it's incredible beauty. And living here for two and a half years, it continues to amaze me with it. As I was standing in Letna Park overlooking the Vltava at sunrise service today, I was again just struck by the beauty of this city that has won my heart. I love Prague.

Yet, this magnificent jewel has so much darkness. It's seen during in the eyes of its people, with looks of hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. It's seen in the sex stores on the corner. It's seen in the nudity and marketing of the human body everywhere. It's seen in the empty cathedrals, functioning now as museums rather than places of worship. It's seen throughout the Czech Republic, in places like Lidice and Terezin, where the evilness of men is so evident.

The other night, the presence of this darkness hit me as I walked through Wenceslas Square. The clubs had opened their doors for the night. Around every ATM there were men crowded, pulling out wads of our smallest bill, 100 kc. I walked past several women propositioning men. And while hearing the mixture of languages I could see clearly that this is not just a Prague problem. This is a world problem. The English, spoken with both American and British accents, the Spanish, German, Italian, and multitude of other languages. The nationalities--European, African, Asian, North and South American. All of this pointed to the darkness not just being here in the Czech Republic, but somewhere much deeper--in the hearts of men.

Again this morning, as my roommates and I walked through the square again, passing people staggering to the metro and down the street, people throwing up on the steps of buildings, people obviously only then going to bed, we could see it. Not the darkness itself. But the symptoms of it. Signs that something is not right, that something is broken and needs fixing.

We kept walking, through Old Town, through the Jewish Quarter, past the oldest synagogue in the city. We crossed the bridge and climbed the many steps up to Letna Park. And at an overlook, we watched as the mostly-risen sun shed its light over this dark, yet beautiful city. And we knew that light had come.

That over 2,000 years ago the world was at its darkest. All hope had seemed lost. Death seemed to have won.

But then something marvelous and glorious happened. The stone rolled away. The tomb was empty. A dead man had been brought back to life. This was no ordinary man, but Immanuel. The Lamb who was slain for our sins rose again.

And as we worshiped with my church this morning, looking out over the city below us, I was reminded once more of why I am here. It may be a city full of darkness. But light has come. I'm here to share that light. Because He is risen. He is risen indeed.

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