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Rise and Shine

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Sovereign One has risen upon you. ~Isaiah 60:1

When you think of owls, you likely think of them hunting at night. That is true of most owl species, but some of them, particularly those that breed in the high Arctic, are diurnal, that is, they are active in the daylight hours. It makes sense that Snowy Owls and Great Gray Owls that spend summers where the sun never sets would then remain active during the day when they come south for the winter. Then there are some animals that specialize in light that is not quite fully day, these crepuscular species, like Short-eared Owls are active in the hours around dawn and dusk.

Obviously, natural light is not an all or nothing proposition. The sun doesn’t have an on/off switch. Naming the precise moment of sunrise and sunset may be possible scientifically, but we don’t experience it as a precise moment. Neither do the creatures. The dawn chorus of birds in the spring always begins in the dark, long before it is light enough to drive without headlights. Rabindranath Tagore understood the spirituality of that when he said “faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.” Isaiah was like that bird in the night when he called on the people to rise and shine, because he had such faith in God’s future promise that he knew the time to respond was now.

Do you have a spiritual practice of arising and shining? That requires discerning Spirit in a similar way of discerning the subtle oncoming changes in natural light. When you know what particular manifestation of Spirit makes you feel most fully alive then you can act in faith and rise and shine the glory of God.

Prayer: Light of the World, help us sense your presence even before it burst forth that we might rise and shine your glory. Amen.


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