April 30, 2007

Faith and Death

Last night I was driving home from my weekend deacon gig, when Death Cab for Cutie's I will Follow You into the Dark came on the radio.

Now I generally find songs like this one overly light and precious, but it was a dreary night and it seemed to fit the mood, so I left it on.

It made me think about faith and death. I presume that the song is about dying--the whole going "into the dark" thing. Death is, after all, the final, mysterious limit of our experience and personality in this world. It is an unknown, a permanently veiled moment, a darkness.

But faith, both as a grace and an act, is a lot like that too. Faith is darkness to the intellect. It is the willingness to risk stepping into a cognitive obscurity that does not satisfy our normal standards of knowing anything, of "getting" it. The Light of God is so brilliant that our hearts and minds only perceive It as darkness--what John of the Cross called the rayos de oscuridad.

In this sense I was thinking about how faith is a remote preparation for death. We have already risked a step into the obscurity and darkness of faith. And we have found it trustworthy. So maybe that will help us to go into the final darkness of death with more peace and trust.

1 comment:

Bill said...

My faith is a wonderful blessing and comfort to me as I prepare to take the ultimate journey into the unknown. I can only imagine it must be terrifying to face death with no beliefs in anything beyond.
You are a blessing and I thank you for sharing this posting.
Bill