By: Bethany Apelquist
I love the image from Zechariah’s prophecy of dawn breaking through, giving light to those who sit in the darkness. I imagine God coming into this world like a sunrise. At first, it is still a little hard to see clearly, as the darkness of the night lingers, but you keep your eye on that horizon knowing that something special is about to happen. And slowly, as the sun rises, the sky fills with vibrant colors: colors of grace, peace, joy, and love. There is something so hopeful about this image. But the thing about a sunrise is that it is preceded
by the cold darkness, and it can often feel like that darkness is going to last forever. On the nights when Mercy opens our winter freeze shelter with our friends at St. John’s Lutheran, we also open up at Mercy early in the morning on the following day, knowing that the hour before sunrise is the single coldest hour of the day. When I look around and see how broken and dark the world feels, there is something about a group of people who gather in the darkest, coldest hour of the night and sharing warm coffee, eating grits, and being community together that gives me hope. Knowing that we are not alone in that darkest, coldest hour, we can hold on to hope that dawn will in fact break upon us, that God is in our midst, and that we will see the colors of sunrise once again.