“Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD; praise the name of the LORD. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time on and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations, and his glory above the heavens.” (Psalm 113:1-4)
I fell asleep on the couch last night looking for answers from the news, exhausted. My back is a little sore this morning, and with you I’m still waiting, writing this note Wednesday morning at seven. The couch was worth it for one good reason, and that was my chance to wake up to the rising sun.
This has been a year like no other. This week I shared a thought about 2020 with a friend who’s grieving the loss of a child that I dare not share here. The pandemic surges, as if to stick its chest out. 68 friends died overnight in our state, and thousands have become sick. Our own WCC family is surging with the virus too, as we pray for Arnie Bolin, Carl and Joni Pence, and Bruce McClellan, who are all fighting for health. Our isolation wears on us, bringing exhaustion. We’re anxious about our jobs, the security of them and how to best work in the first place! Add also our worry for our children, our parents, our siblings and friends. We worship at a distance, isolated, but it’s not the same as gathering together. And our national political process comes to a head, revealing mostly that we are a divided people. Many of our own primary relationships are strained for this reason. Our Church community is splintered by all these things. AARRGGHH!
And then the some comes up as the starry night fades. I watch it move along the wall in front of me, making it hard to see the numbers on the TV. What comes to mind is the song we sometimes sing that goes like this:
The Sun comes up, its a new day dawning It’s time to sing your song again Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me Let me be singing when the evening comes Bless the Lord O my soul, O my soul Worship His Holy name Sing like never before O my soul I’ll worship Your Holy name (10000 Reasons, Matt Redman)
It’s as if the new day says, “Why not make a cup of coffee, come outside and face east, and feel the warm new November day!” In times like these, when the tyranny of the urgent threatens to overwhelm, creation’s rhythms call us home to our God, who is “High above all nations” and whose “glory is above the heavens.” No damned pandemic (forgive me!), and no worldly politic does impinge on these greater realities.
We need to remind each other of these deeper truths that can hold us in all the unknowns about the present and the future. We need to recover the words of the 14th century English mystic Julian of Norwich, who had troubles a plenty of her own, but wrote defiantly, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” I wonder if the rising sun inspired her to say it. We need to say it to ourselves and to each other in times like these.
Jen and Joel and I, we miss you all so very much, we feel deeply the strain of these days for all of us, along with a longing to be together and embrace one another. Someday soon! In the meantime, know that we are longing to hear your voice and journey with you. Be in touch. We are praying for your health and strength, for your faith to give you perseverance. We ask too for your prayers!
Find the Sun sometime today. Feel it’s warmth as a holy reminder that our God is faithful, and holding the whole world in his hands.
Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time on and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the LORD is to be praised.