During my last trip home to Pennsylvania, I paid a short visit to a small used bookstore that carries a lot of manufacturer overstocks or slightly damaged books. I happened to find the very last copy of A.J. Swoboda’s A Glorious Dark lying askew on the shelves. I’d heard it recommended in passing by several others, so I jumped at the chance to pick up my own copy.
A Glorious Dark uses the three days of Easter–Friday, Saturday, and Sunday–to talk about the different emotions in the Christian life. Friday is the day of hopelessness and despair as the disciples watched their savior die on a cross. Saturday is the day of deep questioning and doubt. When your savior is brutally murdered, where else do you have left to turn? Sunday, then, is the day of elation and joy as you run to the empty tomb to find that your savior has miraculously risen. God is present in the sorrow of the cross, the silence of the tomb, and the joy of the resurrection.
Using personal anecdotes and his conversational tone, Swoboda relates each of these emotions to the Christian life. In the tension between belief and disbelief, hope and despair, and joy and sorrow, God is still a loving and good Father. While A Glorious Dark does turn into a collection of random essays without much cohesion, the author easily weaves together truth and prompting. It’s an encouraging book for both those hurting and those rejoicing. One thing Swoboda really excels at is retelling biblical stories in ways that pinpoint often overlooked details to paint a brand new picture. His connections between the Ark of the Covenant and Mary are absolutely brilliant. But I’ll leave that for you to discover.
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