Resting here beside the symbol of light, enshrouded in the darkness of the hour before the dawn, we see by the eye of faith the promise of a new day. In the world the darkness presses in on every side, and we know that those who look not for the light are now inclined to feel safe and secure because they delude themselves in thinking that the loathsome things that they have done and made shall never come to light. We know of injustices, of greed, of lust and of hate. We know so very many things that ought not to be as they are. We find limitations on every hand, and obstacles which seem too high to surmount. We find so many demands upon our time and energies that in the darkness we all too often feel the creeping sense of despair and futility. When any struggling one gives in to these creeping snares of darkness a mental decay sets in and self-pity begins to manifest. The serpent whispers, from every branch of the forbidden tree, “What is the use? Why not give up and do the things that seem so easy? If you but eat of this forbidden fruit, you shall surely find an easy way to gain the things you think you need and want.” Torn by turmoil in body and mind and circumstance, the weary one is tempted to sell his soul, yea his birthright to things divine, for a mess of pottage which soon turns sour with a stench that causes even the evil ones to laugh to scorn the stupidity of one who makes so poor a deal. A hard, hard world it is, with evil ones seeking to lead into evildoing, only to mock those who follow the false leading that they offer. It seems that man would learn, but since the struggles to do the right are so feeble, so easily overcome by the surging flow of brackish evil, the sense of futility bears them down into a vicious cycle from which so few emerge. This is the blackness of the darkness man has made; but the darkness that is of God brings rest and peace.
In God's darkness there is the unformed of all the cosmos, and the rest of the things that God has made. In each cycle of God's darkness there comes a dawn of unspeakable beauty, of the renewing of life on still a higher plane. This darkness here beside the sundial is pure and sweet and clean, carrying promise of a bright new dawn in which the light of God shall bring forth all the lovely things that have been gestating in God's darkness. Here within the walls of salvation, within this sweet peace of God's presence, we know that it is not darkness that bears man down but rather the way in which man uses the darkness that is granted unto him. The night was made for love and rest and peace, a time when new things might begin to germinate and grow, until they are ready to come forth into the light; for there are things of God that cannot live in the light of God until they have first been caused to grow in the darkness of God. Knowing, then, that this is true, we see, even in this hour before the dawn, that there is a Way of Life, a Way of Love, and a Way of Light that leads in and through the darkness that God has made. And all that comes into being in this darkness is eager for the dawn, eager for the light that shall reveal all things as they are. Only the evil of man's darkness is afraid of the light.
So it is that, knowing darkness from darkness, we can be in the world but not of it. We can abide in peace, knowing that the cycles of evil shall surely be brought to naught, that the sordid things may no more be. Rejoice therefore that you are privileged to enjoy the darkness that is of God as you rest beside the symbol of light; for the sundial in the garden of peace is open to all who are pure of heart, to all who have let themselves be healed of self-pity, to all who have so fully let go to the sweet presence of God that all sense of fear and futility has been banished away. Here it is that you are renewed in body and mind and spirit, that you may arise in the strength of God and work in the patience of God to do the will of God according to the wisdom of God. So it is that the terrors of man's darkness are brought to naught, and all the responding ones are caused to know that truly all things are being caused to work together in perfection for the fulfilment of the promises that have been given to man down through all the ages of man's struggle in the darkness that is not of God. (from Beside the Sundial July 30, 1943)
Enfolding you, one and all, in the light that fills and permeates the darkness of God,
that you may be at peace within yourselves,
I bless you in the holy name of Him who is Most High,
and send you forth to do His will.
“And the evening and the morning were the first day.”
The beginning of the creative process relates to darkness, the darkness of the future, the darkness of the deep of space, the darkness of the womb—not darkness that is objectionable, not Egyptian darkness. Man has changed true darkness, good darkness, divine darkness, into Egyptian darkness, darkness that is filled with the things of death, filled with fear and the cries of terror. But we are not talking about that Egyptian darkness. We are talking about the darkness that is a part of the pattern of God's creative processes, as surely as God designed this creation so that we should have the night-time. Darkness, true darkness, is a wonderful thing, the darkness of the night that gives us a time of rest. That darkness is not in any sense objectionable, and in the new earth state we will still have the beauty of the night. But in Revelation, when we read the word, “And there shall be no night there,” what does it mean? That the earth will somehow stop turning on its axis and we will all live on one side of the earth? or that perchance there will be two suns—and what would that do? They would only get in each other's way. No, the revolving of the earth will continue and there will be day and night, but there will be no darkness that is unrelated to God and the things of God—the Egyptian darkness.
So the evening is the beginning of the creative process, and we remember the story a little later on: “In the cool of the day,” which is to say, in the evening, “the Lord God came walking in the garden.” He found something that was not pleasant, not right. But it was His habit to come walking in the garden in the cool of the day—the beginning of the creative processes, the initiation of the divine factors outworking through man, beginning in the evening. And they still should. In the right pattern they still do. Creative processes are never properly initiated in the morning—always in the evening. In the morning one may participate in creative processes, carry on the activity essential, but it is in the evening that we have the correct pattern for the beginning of creative activity. “The Lord God came walking in the garden in the cool of the day.” Have you noticed—surely you must have noticed—that in the evening, as the light of the sun begins to vanish and the coolness begins to appear, there is a very deep quietness that tends to come upon the earth. There is a strange nostalgia that tends to fill the heart, a longing for something—often the human mind knows not what—and because of that longing human beings very often start trying to fill the evening with something to occupy the mind and heart, some kind of entertainment, something to bring about distraction, to make one forget that divine nostalgia of the evening. Many people are afraid of it. Many people dread it. Why? Because it was then that man's first sin was discovered, and those whose faces are turned away from God in shame are inclined to dread the evening and to occupy their minds with some form of entertainment by which they can forget the things they feel.
But it should not be so. This strange longing that comes with the evening is supposed to be present in human beings, causing them to long to meet the Lord in the garden in the cool of the day, to gather round and share the initiation of such new creative processes as may be needed, to share a consideration of those things by which all things may be caused to work together to perfection for those who love and serve the Lord. It is the time when man is supposed to feel close to God. It is the time when God's spirit hovers over the children of men, seeking out the responsive hearts, that all who will may forget their worries, plans and pleasures, and yield to that greater joy of sharing the things of God on earth. (from The Four Forces November 9, 1952)