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“Lighten our darkness.” 27th April, 2020.
Rev. Canon Brian A. Burrows.

Recently, my wife and I, said Evening Prayer and shared it on the telephone with some of
the family during the Coronavirus lockdown. For me, it was a journey into the past as I
remembered other perils and dangers of this night when I was growing up.

1. Lighten our darkness in times of war!
My first exposure to Evening Prayer was as a small choir boy during the Second World War.
We grew up on the outskirts of Coventry. Then the Blitz was the darkness for us. The air
raids mostly occurred at night and the perils and dangers were very real to us as we heard
the sound of planes' engines, the swish of the bombs falling, the loud explosions and the
clatter of bricks. As a child the third Collect had a meaning for me and for others as we
appealed to God to help us.

2. Lighten our darkness in the Covid-19 pandemic!
In the current crisis, one perceives that many people are frightened of the disease. It has
become for them a kind of darkness full of perils and dangers. There have been bright spots
with elderly people and even young children giving hope and light in worrying times. But
sadly, for many there is still fear, darkness even, because the virus is unseen and affects
everyone regardless of who they are!
In the light of this dark fear, the words of this prayer can help. “Lighten our darkness, we
beseech thee, O Lord.” The words may be archaic but the sense remains true. Darkness and
fear can be overcome with God's help. Surely now is the time to pray as never before.

3. “Lighten our darkness” in our souls!
One thing I notice from the present crisis is the fear people have of the unknown. It is one
thing to self-isolate, to practise safe distancing, to wash one's hands regularly, all to be
recommended, but beyond all that is the fact of human weakness. We are all very
vulnerable to diseases and viruses. Despite all the advantages of modern life there is still
the troubling fact of darkness and fear to be faced.
I believe God alone can 'lighten our darkness'. Faith in Him will enable us to face the perils
and dangers of this life. God is light and He has sent His son to be the Light of the world.
John 8:12, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Be not anxious or afraid is the message we should hear in these difficult days. Let us indeed
pray to the Lord to lighten our darkness. We are not alone. May God's presence and the gift
of His Son enlighten us and strengthen us, and our loved ones, now and forever.

Rev. Canon Brian A. Burrows.