It’s late winter at the border of Utah, and shadows chase the sun past a nearby mountain. Texas has no sunset like this. Pink breath enters the empty space under orange and azure. Gold crisps the cracked lips of canyons nearby. Day ends, and a cold night approaches.
We near Easter as the disciples neared the resurrection. Indeed, we near our own resurrection as they neared his. Christ has gone, and yet we walk. But like those pinks and oranges, like the stars that break the black, the Spirit now breathes Christ into all the empty spaces.
But walk with Christ? I walk with Cleopas and his friend (see Luke 24:13-35). Fear walks with me in darkness. Night is in me, and all my crooked steps miss the sun. I walk the slumping road to Emmaus, eschewing the holy city, alone but for my fellow-citizens of sin. Christ is not here, and desperate as I am, I cannot find him.
But then, “Jesus himself approached and began to accompany them…” He came and walked with them. He’s been doing that at least as far back as Genesis 3.
A cold night follows this Mojave sunset. The gluey murk of headlights and porchlights and streetlights and parking-lot fluorescence lay far away. In the mesas, it’s just dark. But the stars, those unsleeping sentinels of mercy, shine brighter, too. “Didn’t our hearts burn within us?” they say, and the cold loses a step.
When Christ returns and all evil is made untrue… well what, really, can we say about that? God has made us a people of the sunset—somewhere between light and light—left to walk between fear and hope, and as always, ever dependent upon him. And praise God that he does not fear the darkness.