Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.
Philippians 2:14-16 (emphasis mine)
This morning it was cold and overcast. Although that might not sound like an auspicious beginning for a heart-wrenching display of beauty, this morning’s conjunction of sun and clouds produced a dazzling sunrise. It started with the sun rising beneath the cloud layer, its light tinging the bottoms of the clouds first a barely-perceptible grayish-pink and from there edging into pale pink, and eventually bursting into a vibrant, dazzling neon reddish-pink that lit the entire sky and lighted my ride for about 3 minutes with an ethereal pink tinge that really did bring my heart into my throat. Closer to the sun the sky utterly blazed red and orange, and towards the west the color outlined the undersides of the clouds with reds and golds that were gentler cousins of the display to the east. Within five minutes, the bright red faded into orange and gold. Then a few minutes later the entire sky lit up with diffuse golden light for a moment. The tops of trees were gilded briefly and I had one flash of actual sunlight on my face. Then the sun rose above the clouds and the show ended.
Riding through the pink and gold light, I remembered today’s verse. I thought that I would like to live like that sunrise: Bright, dazzling, even moving, yet with more than just a moment’s impact. The sun rising brought the hope for a new day begun afresh; “Dawn is ever the hope of men,” Tolkein wrote in The Two Towers, and it’s true. The promise of starting again clean that God offers us each day is a gift beyond compare and the sunrise brought to mind God’s glory and grace. Then, too, brightest, most gorgeous part of the sunrise short in comparison to the many other hours in the day, the same way each of our lives is short in the span of eternity, but I carried a memory of that beautiful day’s beginning with me the rest of the day and it lifted my spirits through the everyday drudgery. I want to live that way, having an impact on the lives of people I meet, leaving a flash of joy that shines as a high point in their memories even after we part, giving the gift of a clean start regardless of past experiences every day. The sunrise was like joy and glory distilled into a 10-minute window. You can’t hold on to a sunrise and pictures never do it justice. Part of its beauty is its transience, knowing you can’t freeze it for future consumption. Life is short and we can’t stop time, but we can live life abundantly in the brief time we have, like the short but wonderful display put on by this morning’s sunrise.
On a totally unrelated note, here is my latest flying cowtoon. Who knew the flying cow could do stunts with the Blue Angels?!