One by one, the disciples remove themselves from Jesus. Each denies knowing him. The religious leaders deny the truth of his teaching. The civil leaders deny responsibility for his fate, leaving it to the crowd to decide. At our Maundy Thursday service each disciple is represented by a candle which is extinguished and removed from the table holding the Last Supper. Slowly the light leaves the room, until finally the deed is done; the Christ candle is extinguished and there is no light.
One could settle into darkness and find comfort, I think, so the darkness itself is not disturbing. It is the conspiring and the denial that brings the darkness that makes it so disturbing. It’s the plotting and the denial that makes this darkness so engulfing. There is no comfort in this darkness that is absent the goodness, the purity and the innocence.
This is the darkness of conspiracy, collaboration and denial. The religious leaders conspire to put an end to goodness. The Roman civil leaders conspire to hold onto power and control over others. And to save themselves the disciples each deny knowing him, willingly sacrificing the one who comes to include all, to set us free and to call us out of concern for self to live sacrificially and generously toward others.
But this is too threatening. And so we conspire, and the darkness surrounds us until we can no longer see the light.