After what has seemed like one of the hardest, coldest, snowiest winters I can remember I am now enjoying longer days as the sun seems to be moving ever northward and stays up longer than the day before as I read Buchanan’s words. With Easter being almost as late as possible this year, the longer, warmer, and brighter days of spring have coincided with the approach of Easter. I know that the cold, dark days of Lent, I mean winter, will end with the rising of the Son, I mean sun.
Thanks to John Buchanan and Bruce Springsteen, who reminds us that “Mama always told me not to look into the eye of the sun”, a caution reiterated by Astronomers appearing on public media every time we are about to experience a solar eclipse, we know not to look directly at the sun. Looking directly into that celestial object even with dark glasses can cause permanent eye damage. Yet something compels the astronomer as well as the non-scientist to study the heavenly sphere that warms us, illuminates us, and provides the energy our planet needs to sustain life. I remember making a pinhole box viewer to watch a solar eclipse and using a small telescope to project sun spots unto the ceiling of my bedroom. Even though I was not looking directly at the sun I was still mesmerized by its brilliance.
I also know that in the strictest, most literal sense, the sun does not rise. Our senses deceive us. The sun only appears to rise as we, standing on the surface of a rotating earth, rotate with our planet on its axis, completing a rotation cycle about every twenty-four hours. I also know that in the spring the sun only appears to be climbing ever northward. What is actually happening is that the earth, constantly tilting on its axis in a yearly cycle, is now beginning to present its northern hemisphere toward the sun after having presented the southern hemisphere for six months. In spite of knowing better, however, I still talk about, and appreciate the “miracle” of a sunrise rather than a morning turnaround and relish in a northward marching sun even though I know it is not true. Sometimes historical and culturally loaded language better describe our experience and enables us to share it rather than the sometimes hard, cold, precise language of science, but that does not mean I disregard science.
Here is the link to my Lectionary Ruminations 2.0 post for Easter, where I reflect on all six, primary and alternate, Lectionary Readings for Easter morning.