Every sunrise is unique. Each brings joy and a sense of mystery and hope for the day. The most spectacular sunrise, however, is just after a storm. I know because I watch it every day.
My condo overlooks the Potomac River facing east. The first thing I do every morning is open the curtains to watch the sun rise. Some days the clear deep purple sky gradually lightens to cerulean blue with an ombre of violet, red, orange and yellow. At times the sun is so brilliant, the sky almost looks white.
After a storm, however, the sun plays games. Sometimes it almost seems to have a double sunrise separated horizontally by a bank of dark clouds. Often, it backlights the clouds turning them various shades of the rainbow. Sometimes it simply turns the fog from black to green to a pale yellow to softly iridescent grey.
The sunrise anchors me. It happens every day. In England where I lived so far north that the winter sun rose shortly before noon, rolled across the southern horizon, then dropped off well before dinner time, it still rose. The sun can always be relied upon to reappear in one presentation or another at it’s appointed time. Even in places like Alaska where it disappears for months on end, it returns at the appointed season.
The sunrise is like our awareness of God’s presence in our lives. It is most dramatic and spectacular after a storm. And, post-storm, gives reassurance that all is well.
Like the sun, God is always there. Just as in darkness, the sun’s light is reflected by the moon, so too God’s light is reflected by the brightness of our worldly accomplishments, our daily activity and our family and friends. When darkness enters our life though, and it always does, like the sun rising despite the storm, God’s presence shines. It is usually in our darkest, stormiest nights that we turn toward that light.
If, however we look to the sunrise every day, the darkness, when it descends, is less oppressive because we know, with absolute conviction, the sun will rise. It’s seeming presence and image will vary with the seasons, but it is still there. So too, if we turn to God daily, we enter the solemnity and self-deprivation of Lent with confidence, knowing the Son will rise.