Sacred Sunrises

I put one foot in front of the other this morning wondering what I did while looking at a sunrise before camera phones.

The giant 6 a.m. sky stretched out before me. My mind immediately was reaching for my phone to capture the perfect Instagram photo. But why? I thought. This isn’t how I used to treat an early morning walk. Not as a photo op to further my social feed. Not as a way to prove to others how productive I can be in the midst of messy and a glorified-busy life. No, I used to stroll easily down paths, seeking out the sunrise, and when found, I’d treat it with reverence. There was no way, I remember thinking 12 years ago, that my Razr flip phone or any other digital camera could capture this image. Why try? Why not just enjoy it?

So that’s how I conducted the rest of my morning walk. I am readopting my old ways — of simplicity, slowness, savoring.

And by the end of my walk, it suddenly felt holy. The crunch of the gravel beneath my feet. The expanse of the blue and purple and pink Kansas horizon floating above the horses grazing. Two stray cats lounged in an alley; they were drinking in the morning too, with no hurry. No agenda. The russle of the almost-turned wheat in the field next to me caught my attention. The words came to me quickly: Thank you for feeding us, Lord, as I brushed my hand across the tops of the green-gold grains of wheat. And that tiny, simple prayer felt like the most honest and holy prayer I’ve prayed all week. Maybe even all month.

Our world is chaotic. Our world is violent. My heart breaks again and again, and often mirrors the virulent, global mess. But today, I’m with the alley cats — not hurrying. Not seeking out attention for my own volition. Learning. Seeking reconciliation and peace. Searching for Jesus. For the sunrise, the sacredness, the good. And praying it will manifest itself in me. I am savoring the slowness that can come with summer, if I let it.

Because if I let it – if I learn, actively choose Jesus’s love and peace over and over again — what sacredness might I encounter? I can’t wait to see.

Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV)

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

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