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Father Robin’s Solstice Sermon

I don’t preach when I write fiction: it’s all derring-do and story telling. But, just once, I let Father Robin preach a sermon. Here it is with best wishes for your Winter Solstice:

“No one expected the round little figure of Father Robin to rise in the lectern like a mouse from inside a crock of cheese, amazed that his soft voice could ring against the stones of the chapel so strongly and clearly, commanding them to

‘FLY OUT OF THE DARKNESS’

so loudly that little children could be seen rising and falling upon their seats, while adults gaped in astonishment at the soft spoken old priest,who hadn’t delivered a public homily to an audience larger than his bees in years.

‘FLY OUT OF THE DARKNESS,’

he shouted, chuckling to himself at what a good idea it had been to secrete one of his honeycomb boxes behind the pulpit so that he could climb up and surprise all of his friends.

‘There is nothing but light within us! There is light in you. There is light in me!’

Truly, they could believe it. His fine, wispy hair was illuminated by the candles and his silken cope, which they had never seen him wear before, whirled brightly around his shoulders.  As for Father Robin, for once in his life he felt tall as anyone. Drawing a deeper breath than he had been capable of for years, he declaimed from his bee box:

‘There is light in me, there is light in you, though the night seem dark, there is light!

Deep in the cave, in your sorrow, in the storm, in your broken hearts, there is light!

Did you think otherwise? Did you think the dark absolute? Does the dark of December go on forever? No! Of course not— it gives way for the spring. On this darkest night of the year, what do we know? We know that at this very moment, now, just when we have lit our midwinter candles, the sun begins to return.

I am not saying that no one here tonight dwells in darkness. Every heart has its dark places. Some of us choose to remain there, crouched in terror and pain because we have been wounded by evil.

I am not denying that evil can touch us, and mark us, and wound us, and even kill us.

What I am saying is that evil is a shadow, and a shadow is always cast by a light. If you crouch in a shadow, you are holding yourself back from the light that casts it.

If your heart is wounded, you are afraid of healing! Better pain, you say, than a heart healed only to be wounded again!

But I tell you that life is worth stretching your heart for.

Are you afraid of the feeling? Love again!

Are you afraid of the wind: take wing on it!

Are you afraid of heights: climb them!

Are you afraid of the depths: dive into them!

Are you afraid of the uttermost parts of the earth? Have courage, friends! Though the path is dark and the way unclear, dare to take up your pack and go forth!

Is it separation from loved ones you fear?

Fear Not! We are always together. We can never be parted, we who carry each other in our hearts forever!

Fear not evil! The universe is luminous with good. There was only one utter darkness, and only that once, into which the light poured that is all around us.

That brightness does not shine from afar, it shines from within. The light of the world is within you and within me and the heart of our beloved community!”

Father Robin rose up on the tips of his toes to lean across the pulpit, feeling as tall as he had ever felt in his life, to shout his conclusion in a strong, forceful voice, amazing to all who knew him.

‘Fly out of the darkness,’ he cried out with one last time, then faded abruptly into the darkness behind his pulpit.”   Fly Out of the Darkness

May there be light in your darkness at this time of the turning of the year