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Walking Our Faith: The sun also rises

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith

The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hurries to its place where it rises. — Ecclesiastes 1:5”

Last week, I watched the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean every morning, and I don’t know why I was surprised to discover that no two sunrises are alike.

Some mornings it rose behind clouds, its arrival hidden until the very last moment when, suddenly, the sky was suffused with orange and pink until the smallest edge of fire overcame the clouds, which sat upon the ocean like a flotilla helpless to hold back such beauty.



The first few mornings, I went out to watch the sunrise to be able to say that I had. Once I realized each morning would offer an unexpected entrance, that became my focus.

When all is well in our lives, God’s love warms our heart and warms our back and blesses everything we touch, and during these days, it is easy to love God in return because, like the sunrise on a clear morning, there is nothing to hide the radiance of that love.



But those halcyon days never last long enough and pass too quickly. In their place they leave what feels like days of just getting by, days of just enough. These are the days that perhaps make up most of our lives. They are neither great nor tragic. They slip through our fingers with unremarkable passing.

These are the days when the sun is shining, but we don’t notice. We are too busy making ends meet, making deadlines, making plans. These are the days when our shoulder is to the plow. We are too busy to notice the sun or to bow our heads and pray.

These are the days when if we give God a thought, it is only in passing and perhaps with the quickest “oh thank God” when we find the keys that we’ve been scrambling to locate on our rush out the door.

But then there are the days that sweep in like the summer rains over the ocean. Rapid moving dark clouds with sheets of rain that fall like curtains and blot out the sun.

Those are the days we receive devastating news of an illness or a death or a financial loss that takes our breath away. Those are the days that bring us to our knees, bend our backs, bow our heads and find us desperately calling God’s name.

My childhood was spent on the beaches of Fort Lauderdale with long afternoons filled with sunshine and warm ocean breezes. I attended the University of Michigan on an athletic scholarship for swimming and quickly discovered that the long gray winters did not agree with my sunny nature.

I consoled myself by remembering that above the blanket of dense cotton wool that covered the sky, the sun still shined. Even on the grayest of winter days, it was still there though I could not feel its warmth.

Likewise on days when we find ourselves alone or lonely or devastated by bad news, we must call on our imaginations to remember that God’s love is like the sunshine that filled our hearts with hope on the sunny days when God’s goodness felt so close.

Because it was and because it still is. God’s love for us is a constancy that never wavers. It is not dependent on our goodness. It is never something we earn; not even our rejection can stop its constancy. It is alpha and omega.

On Saturday evening, I will be one of the readers during the Easter vigil Mass at St. Mary’s. This Mass re-creates our history from creation through the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

The evening begins with the lighting of a fire representing light in its most elemental form, a light that is then carried into the church to light candles on the altar. The candlelight eventually lights the entire sanctuary, recalling Christ as the light of the world. There is a light that burns throughout the year next to the tabernacle that holds the Blessed Sacrament, to remind us that Christ is ever-present.

Without the sun, life on our planet would cease to exist. Without God’s love, our lives would be as desolate. Let us turn our faces to God, take a moment each day to pray and receive the warmth of his love for us.

The Easter vigil begins in darkness and ends in a glorious celebration of light, life overcoming death, love erasing sorrow. It is a celebration we repeat every year to remember the son rises, to remind us God’s love is eternal, never failing, never wavering. The sun also rises.

For more

I’m reading through the Gospels this year. This week, I’m reading Matthew Chapters 20 and 21. Please join me!

“Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified; and on the third day he will be raised.” — Matthew 20:19


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