Sitting at breakfast one recent morning, I watched the rising sun grace the morning with a brilliant, fiery red glow. By 8 in the morning, however, the light had dimmed and it was as if dusk approached once more. Rain followed; cars on the road outside passed with a hiss, whilst water dripped noisily onto my window sill. And so it is with our weather. The only certainty is change.
Looking across a reddening evening sky, the last remaining hint of sun visible as a golden glow, it is easy to see why many have seen in such a view ‘The Glory of God’ shining before them. Interesting, then, that a glorious evening glow is a harbinger of good weather to come, while the same effect the following morning speaks only of rain. Interesting, too, that we place so much emphasis on the book-ends of the day, saying little about what lies between.
Listening to a funeral eulogy later that day I was struck by the following: ‘People observe the colours of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colours ’. The reader went on to share how one colour spoke to her of her grandmother.
For all our emphasis on sunrise and set; it is clear from the many eulogies I have heard that a life lived is far more than the sum of its beginning and ending. What is more, the life that has been woven in-between has, more often than not, contained much more than the sunrise alone would lead us to expect. Jesus once contrasted our ability to interpret these signs of the sky, red sky at night etc with our inability to interpret the signs of the times, God at work in the world (eg: Matt 16:1-4). This hour consists of many different colours; some vibrant and rich, others muted or still. What is being woven around me, and around you, in this hour? And what are we, noticing those colours, adding to the tapestry of life – now?
Rev Philip Payne
Notice Sheet for 20 February 2022 can be found here