Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Morning Has Broken - A Thought for Thanksgiving

Morning has broken like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word!

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from Heaven,
Like the first dewfall on the first grass.
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day.

Morning has broken like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird.
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning,
Praise for them springing fresh from the Word!

How interesting that Eleanor Farjeon's eighty-four year old hymn text has found its way into popular music, recorded famously by Cat Stevens (after he was Steven Demetre Georgiou and before he was Yusuf Islam), Neil Diamond, Kenny Rogers, Aaron Neville, Roger Whitaker, and Pam Tillis among others. These words of gratitude for new beginnings speak to the congregations on Sunday mornings and to the concert goers and those beside their radios. We all, churchgoers or not, find ourselves in shades of night, waiting and longing for the morning. And morning always arrives.

The lessons of life come almost too routinely. Spring always follows winter like resurrection follows burial. The retreat of the caterpillar into a cocoon is merely the preparation for the birth of the beautiful butterfly. Consider the lilies of the field, which neither labor nor spin, yet Solomon in all his splendor was not dressed like one of them. The rain falls and the sun shines and the grass grows.

And morning follows night. Always.

Elie Wiesel’s novel about a man who believes that he lives in a world without God is appropriately entitled Night. Robert Frost, in writing of sadness and loneliness, says that he has been “acquainted with the night.”

Night comes in many, many forms. There is the physical night of disease, torment, and disability. There is the mental and emotional night of dementia, forgetfulness, and confusion. Night can form from regret and disappointment. Worry creates a long night. Fear darkens the world around us. It was the Spanish poet and mystic Saint John of the Cross who first referred to that phase of spiritual loneliness and desolation as the “dark night of the soul”.

But the lessons of life teach us that morning follows night as certainly as spring follows winter. And, in echoing that message, the scriptures teach us that while weeping may last for the night, our joy comes in the morning.

It was God’s first act, after creating the world itself, to dispel darkness. “Let there be light” is a mighty statement of hope and power. The "one light that Eden saw" was the very light of God, as morning broke for the first time over a new earth as yet unstained by sin.

Into your night of sin and lostness, morning has broken. Like on the first morning, God has said “let there be light” and has sent His only begotten Son.

Your night of sickness or disillusionment or betrayal may be at its darkest, but the lessons of life teach us that for those of us who are His, it is but a moment. Our God is the Father of light. Joy comes in the morning.

When you wake up tomorrow and see that, indeed, the darkness has gone and the sun has arisen, rejoice that morning has broken like that first morning. Say to yourself that the morning is yours, and understand that His feet are passing close by.

And He shall be like the light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds. Your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer. You will call for help, and He will say, “Here am I.” Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. Morning has broken like the first morning.

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