"God makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous." - Matthew 5:45b
This summer my family and I traveled to a southern destination of sun and sand. Unfortunately, the sun had to share precious time in the sky with dark, almost foreboding, rain clouds. On a positive note, I learned that the main benefit of rain-drenched sand is the opportunity to make firmer and longer-lasting sand castles or, as per my sculpting abilities, a sand shack.
Despite the constantly appearing dark clouds, however, my previously sheltered skin had no problem getting too much sun. The second day on the beach I rejected my topless swimwear and protected my beet-red skin with a tee-shirt and Panama Jack hat. I was not alone. The beach scene was peppered with sun burned middle-aged folks trying to enjoy the sun, sand, and waves more fully clothed with liberally applied sunscreen and Aloe Vera.
Sunburns are no respecter of persons. Dead skin peels from the bodies of condo-living corporate giants and local beach bums alike. The ocean's waves pummel frisky children and elderly waders alike. The sand sinks beneath the feet of lovers and quarrelers alike. As I sat in my lounge chair and courageously, if not irrationally, soaked in the rays, I thought to myself, "God's love burns within, on, around, and through us all equally, without partiality, prejudice, or bias." And that made my burns easier to endure.
May the God who ignites the sun, hides behind the dark clouds, rides the waves, and counts the sand, keep us all in God's burning, skin-peeling love.
Jimmy R. Watson is the Pastor of St. Andrew United Church of Christ, Louisville, Kentucky.