9 Nonetheless, those who were in distress won’t be exhausted. At an earlier time, God cursed the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but later he glorified the way of the sea, the far side of the Jordan, and the Galilee of the nations.
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.
On those living in a pitch-dark land, light has dawned.
3 You have made the nation great;
you have increased its joy.
They rejoiced before you as with joy at the harvest,
as those who divide plunder rejoice.
4 As on the day of Midian, you’ve shattered the yoke that burdened them,
the staff on their shoulders,
and the rod of their oppressor.
When all seems dark light shines into the darkness. When the people find themselves in distress, a sign of hope appears. As I write this reflection for the third Sunday after Epiphany, which is a season of light and revelation, there is much distress in the land I inhabit. The political scene has been disrupted. There is great uncertainty. It feels as if a yoke has been placed on our shoulders, and so we cry out for help. I happen to be writing this reflection on the day the nation celebrates the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, a modern prophet, whose light one man sought to extinguish. But the light continues to shine. The dream that one day the nation would live out its creed remains with us to this day, even if it remains unfulfilled. I also write this reflection just days before a new president is inaugurated, a president whose statements, often via Twitter, are often caustic and ignoble. They have frightened many in this land and around the world. When we gather on Sunday, we who live in the United States will be living in a land governed by this man. Yes, for many of us, darkness seems to be covering the land. It is in this moment, that we hold out hope that light will shine in the darkness.