"Sire, the night is darker now
and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how,
I can go no longer."
"Mark my footsteps good, my page,
tread thou in them boldly.
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
freeze thy blood less coldly."
“Good King Wenceslas”
by John Mason Neale
for an excellent sermon on EVIL
following the Sandy Hook shooting
by Rev. Kelly Smith, Jr.
I grew up in northern South Dakota where we'd rarely see a thaw between October and March, so by December, the snow piles were pretty deep. I remember following my big brother through drifts that reached my waist as we trudged up a hill for what felt like forever in order to enjoy a very brief, very exhilarating toboggan ride down. The ride must have been worth the climb because we did it again and again and again: up the hill out of breath, and down it again, giggling madly, cheeks numb with cold, snowpants soaked through, hair frozen solid, until we couldn't feel our legs well enough to climb anymore.
Though my brother's steps were larger than mine, and I had to jump to stay in them, it was still easier to follow him than it would have been to make my own path. In a similar way, we trudge through our suffering in the footsteps Christ already trod on His way to Calvary. Every ache, every broken heart, every unimaginable injustice is a step He took for you, and now you with Him. Christ's steps are big, and they're perfect, and we're never going to match them completely, but trying to stay in them is still easier than trying to forge our own paths through the deep drifts of life in a broken world.
And every time we stumble face first into the snow, and there are times a-plenty, Jesus offers us His hand again and again and again until we reach the top, frostbitten and weary but with the faith of our baptism intact. (Unlike my brother who usually took the opportunity to shove snow down the back of my coat x]).
"I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us."