IT’S THE SUMMER SOLSTICE IN THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE, the winter solstice south of the equator. Let’s pause to reflect on this amazing phenomenon we take so much for granted. Our sun is just a very small star, in a very large universe, all created by an infinite Creator!
I’m grasping a few moments during a quick pit stop home between trips. So I am borrowing this w e e k l y w o r d from a daily meditation I receive from the Bruderhof, a movement with roots in the Radical Reformation of the 16th century, revived in the 20th after the first world war as a movement of Christian communes. Eberhard Arnold was the leader of this revived movement. (See www.bruderhof.com)
Here are two items from today’s meditation on the summer solstice.
…And now I must tell you about the sun. The sun shines; it sends forth its beams and gives warmth. It awakens and strengthens life. Should it disappear, everything would suddenly be dead, really dead–still more deathlike than we were in the recent weeks. But it is not one and the same thing whether the sun shines on a rock or on a flower. Certainly the sun has also awakened life from rocks. In hearts of stone that will not be called to life, the light of God works in a different way than in a heart that receives the light.
The light shines on every human being that comes to this world. Only when a man accepts it completely, and only as long as he accepts it completely, will he receive authority and strength and tasks. See the prologue to John’s Gospel.
The light of truth, the fire with its warmth and judgment burns in every man. If only we would learn to see this always in people, and therefore to turn away silently from evil that is recognized. If the union with the central fire or heart of the sun‚Äîthe sunheart‚Äîis weakened, this fire becomes more and more merciless judgment rather than grace; sends out poisonous rays–fierce, smoky, stinging and biting sharply. If the union is completely destroyed, then, yes, the fire consumes. Nothing is left but fiery, evil death, the age-old symbol of the hellish abyss of fire. The cold light of judgment and of so-called clear recognition without love and without help is terrible: a dead moon, a grinning skull.
When a plant has no more sap it is burnt up in the sun. If it has sap, it grows and receives color and life the more the sun shines. The light of truth can only make us grow and act effectively if God’s power pulses in us as love, as spirit, as joy, and as abundant, jubilant life. The study of the Bible makes us dead and cold every time the light of its truth, the spirit in which it is written, is not alive in our innermost being. Here each person is autonomous, each must find his own way, whether old or young.
We each need the gift of illumination and awakening that comes from within. Otherwise everything, everything is useless and meaningless. Our inner fire, yes, our enthusiasm, our inspiration, the soul, eros, everything that is fire and love must flow together with the one great light, with the holy agape, with the heart of God, with Jesus Christ; all this must come from him as newness of life, newborn in purity and power. It is clear this means that everything impelled by desire, the will to possess, high-handedness, or personal claim is consumed in this sun-fire. This is the only all-important contrast. The one, the old world with its possessive desire passes away; the other, the new creation, is born with its devoted, all-embracing, generous love that is of God, in the joy of God. Only in this way is our work directed by joy and our livelihood based on trust.
Bilthoven, Holland, 1922
Else von Hollander
Longest day of sun’s bright light,
shortest night of all dark nights!
Flames of joy leap up, burst in,
burn away the suffering of sin.
Come, rake the fire together
in the light, and find your brother,
serving, with one another,
God, who is unity.
Hate and greed divide men all.
Over earth lies night’s dark pall.
Yet thou cam’st, the world’s true light,
waking men to live aright:
to serve thy kingdom fully,
that injustice give way wholly,
and thy Holy Spirit reign only.
Thy will be done.
O thou never-ending day,
when com’st thou, eternal sun, to stay?
Bring us everlasting peace,
city bright of joy and bliss.
From thee pure radiance streams
as one church, united, gleams.
Its brightness forever streams –
Glory to thee!
Till next week,
Till next week,