Summer is fast approaching.
Just a few weeks ago, I was driving to work in the dark wee hours of the morning. The days have lengthened, and now the sun is rising brightly over the skyline of Cleveland as I head in to the office. It is a beautiful time of the year – and soon the summer solstice will be upon us.
I think back fondly to my days as a child. School will have just let out, and a whole summer of opportunity lay before me. The sun would hit the window of my bedroom each morning, and that was a call to me to rise and make the most of what summer offered. There were bike rides and tennis courts, swimming pools and apple orchards, baseball games and trees to climb. Every day was in invitation to play; family vacations, picnics in the neighborhood park, falling asleep at night listening to Jack Buck and the St. Louis Cardinals on the radio, cookouts on the patio, and fireflies to chase in the glooming darkness of a late summer evening.
Nowadays, I find myself sitting out on the front porch after a long day in the office watching the day wind down and the neighborhood drift by. Bikers and dog-walkers, young couples holding hands and exploring first loves, children chasing butterflies, joggers and older couples lost in idle conversation pass by me. Sometimes there is a friendly nod or gesture – but mostly just the pleasure of sitting in the shade of my front porch on a warm evening.
Occasionally the children next door will emerge after the dinner hour and beg for some playtime – and I always give in to that glorious temptation. After all, what is summer if not an opportunity to take full advantage of those additional post-dinner daylight hours and revel in the joy of outdoor frolic?
There is something deeply spiritual about the marking of sister sun’s movement. Many cultures recognize the way life’s patterns shift with the coming and going of the light. Ancient architects and builders would mark the peak of the sun’s journey, erecting structures in such a way as to identify and bear witness to the sun’s turning point. Still to this day large crowds will gather and commemorate this moment. It is a time of spiritual awakening – of noting that light moves, and in the movement our souls respond with – what, awe? Fear? A sense of our place in a world so remarkably woven? Wonder? Gratitude? A longing to be ever in the light? The collective grieving of a knowing that the light will soon dim? Oh, to be sure, it is all of this and more.
“You are the light of the world,” Jesus said, making good use in his own way of this power of this metaphor. “You are the light of the world,” he said, adding “let your light so shine before all so that they may see your good works and give glory to God in heaven.”
Like a long summer day, lengthened by the movement of sister Sun, our light grows. With acts of kindness, of love, of compassion, of joy, of peace, of comfort, of solace, of mercy – we share and show the love of God to a world in need of new light.
Like a child on a warm summer’s day, anxious to greet the early sun on the bedroom window and gladly receiving its invitation to come and play – may the gentle tapping of the sacred spirit on the window of your heart move you to your own playful expression of God’s abiding love. And, gentle listener, may the coming of new light into your life guide you safely on the pathways down which you walk as you continue your journey Into the Mystic.
Summer is fast approaching.