“Cast away all the works of darkness, O ye children of the day.”

Sung on the first Sunday of Advent, this verse from the familiar hymn has been a persistent ear worm. It has also served as a clear reminder of how people of faith are instructed to navigate dark times ever so relevant in this chaotic and negative time in our nation. Since Election Day, there have been over 1000 hate crimes reported; there is a prevailing sense of fear especially among our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.

Two weeks ago, in our diocese, a parish known for its large immigrant population was vandalized with words of hate scrawled on the church’s roadside banner and in the intimate space of its walled memorial garden.

“Cast away all the works of darkness, O ye children of the day.”

How did the Episcopal Church of Our Savior, our bishop and diocesan clergy, and members of our Cathedral community respond? They brought forth “day” and light out of the presence of darkness and evil. In the bright sunshine of that Sunday afternoon following the 1 pm Latino service, hundreds of people used brightly colored chalk to write words of love on the driveway and sidewalk. With determination and conviction, these “children of the day” created a colorful mural that distracted attention away from the messages of hate. When they were done, dozens of brightly colored expressions of light, love, and hope surrounded the defaced church. “Love Wins,” “Love is Patient,” “Dios te illumine” (God enlighten you), and hearts drawn in every hue cast away darkness. The people “of the day” spread messages of the One who is yet to come this Advent.

May THIS Advent, with all the challenges of our earthly life, empower you to cast away all the works of darkness. May you transform such darkness into day.