the sun in the clouds

For thus the LORD has told me, "I will look from My dwelling place quietly Like dazzling heat in the sunshine, Like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest." Isaiah 18:4

I was riding on my bus this morning into the city and noticed the sun peeking out from the overcast clouds in the morning sky. I was feeling the effects of three days of living with a bad cold and the day-time Tylenol that made my head a little foggy. In that foggy state of mind and on this cold overcast day the warmth of the sun was effective. While I could not “feel” the warm of the sun, it is very cold today, I could “feel” the effect of this bright light shining through the grey clouds that surrounded it. The effect of this presence in the sky was memorable, I realized there is a presence in the world always trying to peek in, to be present even in the midst of sadness and pain.

Today is not a day of sadness or pain for me but it is an overcast and foggy day, a day when there is a certain numbness, a ringing in my ears. This cold has me feeling a little lost. And yet the cold air and bright sun in combination have a refreshing presence, a sense that something is breaking through, that God is reaching out to us. The Book of Genesis is filled with this notion of communion, covenant, a connection between all things and all people. There is a strong feeling that God is in relationship, that God is revealed in relationship, and that in a way too mysterious for words, that God needs relationship.

Nature has a way to telling us stories about ourselves and about God in ways words cannot. No matter how hard I try to articulate in words what God means to me, how God comes to me, what God does to me, nothing comes closer than the sun and its dazzling presence, even in the midst of a cloudy day. There may be confusion, a loss of energy and a sense that things aren’t getting done but the bright shining presence of God is there, a reassuring awareness that I am not alone.

What does all this mean? There is a tendency when things feel numb or foggy to retreat, to turn inward and despair. But the sun reminds me that love is constant, that love endures, that love is resilient, that love shapes us and molds us into something new. Given that awareness how can I do anything other than be a channel of that love, to let the sun work its magic on me, to brighten my spirit and thus brighten the spirits of those whom I will meet today.

The sun is the Son for us Christians, the presence of the dazzling sun is a reminder of the One who comes to love as God’s incarnate presence.