“Morning has broken like the first morning!” (Hymn #8)
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” (Annie Lamot)
Every dawn brings a new day that has never happened before – not just in the exact same ways the days before happened. There is something about the dawning of a new day offering the fresh air of possibilities born anew. Each dawn heralds a yet born-again time, created out of the old but offering a space in which to create a unique “now.” Now, a present to be opened, savored and lived into.
I am not usually up at dawn, but every now and then it happens that I am awake to a dawn. And if and when I am awake to it, the dawn always seems to surprise me. Its colors, the way the early light plays on things. I can’t help but pause, drop into the moment-by-moment arrival of a particular dawn. Dawnings demand notice, respect, awe. A dawn almost takes my breath away with the energy it brings to me and life around me. Paying homage to a dawn colors and energizes everything it lights upon for the new day coming into being.
These past two Sundays as we gathered in the sanctuaries of N. Farnham and then St. John’s on the first two Sundays of a new day dawning in our life of gathering together as a family of faith, the power of coming together in our old familiar rituals of being together with each other and God, simply took my breath away. It was the dawn of return. In a strange way it was a surprise to me. For more than a year (fifteen months) our beloved faith home sanctuaries had remained dark (figuratively speaking), as if in a long silent and dark enforced hibernation. In my always planning mind, I had harbored hope that maybe we would be returning to them perhaps by fall.
Then the good news broke – in person indoors worship could begin again. This gospel good news, I believe, suddenly woke all of us up to a dawn we had imagined to be later in coming.
These last two Sundays had an energy about them that lifted our spirits along with our voices as we came together. Our churches came alive again. Not that the Spirit and our spirits had maintained a deep silent sleep throughout the pandemic. Obviously, the Holy Spirit and our spirits had been not only dreaming but stirring in ways respectful and yet amazingly creative within the slowed down, sheltering in place for the good of the whole time during the pandemic. And hope continued throughout that “this too will pass” and “good will prevail” and that we are in relationship with a Divine that never slumbers nor sleeps but is continually at work shaping, re-shaping, creating, recreating new life out of the old. A God who says: “I make all things new (again)!” We kept the lamp of hope burning in us. So, we were stubborn and made it through, a day, a week, a month at a time. We showed up on the airwaves (Zoom, etc.) and in the great outdoors, and we tried to do the right and loving and holy thing with each other and we didn’t give up, did we.
We have come through a dark time. We stand in awe of this new dawn. May we open to the joy of living into the light it brings.
Alleluia! Thanks be to God . . . .