By: Giovanna Meek
June 20th, 2016 was the Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, when the sun’s zenith reached its northernmost point away from the equator. Throughout history, the astronomical events of that day have been cause for celebration across cultures and faiths. Stonehenge is a beautiful monument demonstrating our human recognition of the importance of this day and the power of the sun. Bonfires, national holidays, and traditions still honor this event in many places.
But, in modern societies, the life-giving significance of the event has been lost. If you have electricity and the ability to purchase food without having to sow, fertilize, water, and harvest it yourself, you don’t intimately “feel” the relationship between the sun and your very life. For many around the world, this dependency is still a reality – and they feel it.
“I know God loves me, but I don’t always ‘feel’ it.”
Generally, when we speak of the Summer Solstice, we describe it from our vantage point: the sun is at its northernmost point on our horizon. The sun is shining for the most hours on that day. But, we know that what is actually happening is the earth’s orbit and tilt cause the sun to appear at a different point on our horizon. The truth is that the sun is always shining.
God loves you. God is faithful. God is present. God’s light is always shining. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).
Perhaps there are times when we are turned away from God – when some part of us or some force is blocking us from seeing God’s light, from feeling God’s love. Have you had a season when you wondered where God was? Have you experienced a time of darkness, when God seemed distant? This is not God leaving you or rejecting you, but rather the effect of our sly and inbred enemy: sin. From the time of humanity’s Fall, we have each inherited the capacity to turn inward, away from God and towards the self – incurvatus in se. This is like being on the dark side of the earth, or at the South Pole today. Cold, dark, lonely. The sun is still shining, available for us, but we have turned away. Our own self is causing us to be in the shadow. Our own body is causing the darkness. We cannot “feel” God’s love.
Yet, we know it’s there. And we’ve likely experienced it at some point. Can you recall a time when God’s love, light, and presence were so powerful that your heart was melted into thankfulness? Or you rejoiced with reinvigorated faith? Or you couldn’t believe the depth of kindness you experienced? This is like being in Alaska or the North Pole today, where the sun doesn’t set, where it seems to linger or ‘hang out’ with you for an inordinately long time. When you’re accustomed to a pattern of dark and light, that much light seems otherworldly. We might want to visit it for a few days, maybe some weeks, but then need to get back to our normal pattern of dark and light. These habits may be comforting, but it’s not what God wants for us. God invites us to abide in Him, to bask in His love.
We are each, and collectively, in orbit around God – The source of love, light, joy, and Life itself. The long, lingering light of the Summer Solstice is a reminder that the eternal, life-giving love that shines from our Lord is freely available to us if we only turn towards God and receive it. Indeed, God offers us perpetual Summer Solstice.
May we daily be encouraged towards God, letting the rays of God’s light soak into our hearts and fill us with His love.