The Story In A Sunrise




I was reading from a new anthology of Mary Oliver's poems entitled Devotion, and this line from one of her poems resonated with me:  

Why do people keep asking to see 
God’s identity papers
When the darkness opening into morning 
Is more than enough? 

I started thinking deeply about that line, and I remembered the many moments when I'd seen the night turn into the morning, and how it felt to witness it.  

I am a little boy and I woke up early before dawn and went to the window in the kitchen to see the morning light begin to break upon Pikes Peak off in the distance.  The mountains turned red for a moment and I thought I'd never seen anything more beautiful. 

I am sitting outside on a bench in the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World.  The park isn't open yet, and I am having some coffee before beginning my day.  The darkness begins to break and I see the sunlight flicker across Cinderella's Castle making it seem magical.  

I am staring out the window of my home office in the wee hours of the morning, and I  begin to see the dawn break over the small pond and the trees off in the distance.  They flash with a golden light that makes me think of Heaven.  

In those moments and so many others like them, I found myself filled with a sense of wonder and hope.  The darkness was dispelledThe light shone.  The glory of God was all around me.  Even during a particularly long season when I didn't really believe all that much in God, it felt... holy.  

Maybe all we need to do when we want to convince a skeptical friend or loved one about the reality of God is to talk about the sunrise.  

I get it.  Some of you might not be convinced.  

You want to have all of your resources ready to go if you are going to talk faith with your co-worker, or your friend, or that relative of yours, who doesn't buy into the whole God thing.  

You want to be ready to argue, right?  You want to be an apologist.  You want to have your copy of The Case for Faith or Mere Christianity at the ready so you can parry every thrust in the fencing match that you anticipate from your skeptical friend or loved one.  

Guess what? No one ever came to faith because they lost an argument.  

Besides, wouldn't it be a whole lot easier to just talk about how it felt to see the sunrise that one day, and the feeling you felt inside... 

And then you could say that this feeling makes you think of one of the Great Patterns of the universe:  Dying and Rising.  

You might even recall something Jesus said about how unless a grain of wheat "dies" and is buried it can't produce a crop.  

And then you can make the connection that the darkest hours just before dawn can often feel like death... but the sunrise reminds you of resurrection.  

Then maybe you could share that the main reason why it felt like it did was that it reminded you that you are never alone... and that no matter how dark it gets sometimes, the sun always comes out and chases the darkness away to give you another chance at becoming... of rising from the dead once again.    

And that's how you know that God is real and that there's something bigger going on around you that feels like salvation.  

So what if it's a feeling?  

In an age when no one seems to trust anything at all, it seems to me that it's not a huge stretch to think that the one thing we might be able to trust is the deeply felt, and transformative thing that happened to our friend or loved one---a thing that changed their life forever. 

Tell your story.  Share the God-sightings you've had and don't be afraid to be vulnerable about how they felt.  No one cares how much you know.  They want to know how much you care... and how deeply you care about what you care about.   

May you find moments today to do just that, and may it give you life and make the world around you a bit brighter.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  



 

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