Son Rise

The Vicar & I have an on-going debate about the nature of divine involvement in human affairs.  He leans toward the concept that God is intimately interested that we love God and our neighbors.  Thus, the situations that occur in our lives are a series of events that a loving God presents us with that we might chose from the many options that we have to fulfill his will.  I lean toward the concept that these situations are circumstantial and that we have many options to chose from to participate in the wonderful coincidences.  By coincidence, I do not mean merely a random sequence of events, but that events occur without any inherent meaning until we notice them and put meaning to them.  I think that the Vicar and I both ponder how apparently value-neutral situations can have such value when we become attentive.

One custom that we have in our society is to provide value to specific dates, annually, because of birthdays, anniversaries, deaths, etc.  Even though hundreds of thousands of other birthdays, anniversaries, or deaths occurred on those same dates, the value is only because of our personal connection.  We also give certain dates meaning because of religious rituals.  Some of these dates are consistent year to year, such as Christmas (12/25) and All Saints’ Day (11/1), even though we have no evidence that the event occurred on that date historically.  Others are tied to seasons and lunar calendars.

Passover and Easter fall on dates each year which change because of how they are calculated.  Essentially, Passover is set on the first sabbath, after the first full moon, after the Spring Equinox.  The date of the equinox usually only varies by a day this-way-or-that each year, but the full moon follows, more or less, a 28 day cycle.  This year, that full moon occurred on Friday 4/6/12, prior to sun down, the start of the sabbath.  Easter follows the lunar cycle also because Christ’s Last Supper was a Passover sadder meal.

My birthday, a day of special meaning to me and my parents, is April 8th.  Growing up, I liked to think that we had Spring Break from school every few years to celebrate my birthday for a week.  Then there were other years when Easter came later in the month, and I did not get this honor.   When I turned eight years old, we were travelling in Japan.  On my birthday, we visited a Buddhist temple.  The day seemed especially festive.  Being a fire-bug, I liked the idea of lighting incense around the temple.  A Japanese woman, who spoke English, noticed this toe-headed boy in the temple asked if I knew that today was a special day.  I said, “Yes, it’s my birthday!”.  She smiled and told me that it was Buddha’s birthday too.

What wonderful coincidences: the full moon occurs on Friday before the sabbath, setting Passover and Easter on this weekend, when my birthday and Buddha’s happen to fall on the same day.  I am sure that there is a mathematical calculation that would determine when the next year is that these events all come together again.  I shall not worry about this, as it will happen without my effort.  Meanwhile, attribute whatever meaning to wish to this day!

Sunrise with Dogwoods, another symbol of Crucifixion and Resurrection

The sun rises over the eastern ridges
To illuminate the western slopes.
Do not blind yourself with attempts to see
The sun directly, but look at it’s effects:
The dawn rays gliding from the mountain’s
Crest to the valley’s floor, warming the cool Spring air:
The budding of the forest trees as each day lengthens,
Bringing the life up from the roots;
The condensation of water into clouds,
Which cleanses us from winter’s dust.

By evening the sun will cross the sky
To begin its descent behind those westerns slopes,
Not to pass away, but to promise to rise again.
And, from the eastern ridges the moon rises,
A few degrees behind full, a few weeks beyond
The Spring Equinox.  To this day we attribute
Meaning to the traditions of leaving our bondage
For a promised land.  Passover, Easter, Nirvana, Birth,
The rising sun, illuminating our lives.

Sunset over Western Slopes


About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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14 Responses to Son Rise

  1. tnkburdett says:

    Beautiful thoughts and pictures. Have a wonderful day!

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Thanks. You know, of course, the beauty is sitting with the view. I started Saturday before sunrise, to take photos of the full moon setting. Then the sun light shone upon the mountains, at which time I took those photos. Later in the day, while I was proofreading, I noticed that the sun was just about to slip below the mountains. I took the last photo then. Again, you can imagine being here with your cup of coffee or glass of wine, as the respective times of day! Visit soon.

  2. Barneysday says:

    Wonderful thoughts for even we of lesser souls. Happy birthday!

  3. Barneysday says:

    According to today’s NYTimes Review section, I am an “unchurched Christian…who accept some tenets of Christian faith without participating in any specific religious community.”. I kind of like this definition…

  4. Momma E. says:

    Happy Birthday! Great post, wonderful thoughts, as always! Best, Donna

  5. Mother Suzanna says:

    Lovely thoughts on your Birthday. Ah, the memory of that Birthday in Japan…thanks for that. Thanks for your transparency and deep thinking. For seeing the same full moon as you did coming home from the Good Friday service and singing “I Will Rise” with the choir on Sunday. One can be inspired just sitting on your porch and listening and watching for another day to begin. I love “beginnings”. I see you on the deck writing your poem…lovely memories.

  6. The Vicar says:

    Well put Hermit! Without awareness of things around us, we live in a world of our own making. The sun rises everyday, but we are not always in a place, either mentally or physically, to notice it’s arrival. Not every coincidence is a God moment, and conversely, not every God moment is a coincidence. Half the battle is to notice what is going on around us, and the other half is to attach meaning to what we see.

    Consider Isaiah’s warning, written in 700 BC (Before Christ or Before the Common era, depending on the meaning you attach), that people living life without consulting God are living in darkness, but one day a great light will dawn (Isaiah 8:19-9:2)….. or Plato’s “The Allegory of the Cave” (400 BC), in which life is lived in shadowlands, observing shadows cast as reality, but not perceiving the objects which cast the shadows. Only upon exiting the cave does one see a new reality, illuminated by the sun, from which objects have been created to cast shadows, Plato’s first forms from which all other understanding comes….. or The Hermit’s “Sunrise with Dogwoods” (2012 AD) which is a beautiful picture of the seasons of life, the birth of new life, and the light of a new day. That from the still of winter springs visual evidence of new life not visible before, and from even the darkest night a new day will dawn. Depending on your perspective you could be reminded that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”, or of “Turn, Turn, Turn” written by Pete Seeger, and sung by The Byrds in the mid 1960’s.

    Socrates wrote that the unexamined life was not worth living. I celebrate that both The Hermit and Buddha were created in the image of God and have sought lives filled with asking questions and seeking answers.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Equally well stated. Regarding answers, there are probably as many of those as meanings! May we always be refining our ability to inquire, thereby clarifying the multitude of answers that we find. Maybe some of those will reflect the source of the light to awake those in dark places.

  7. Judi Getz says:

    It is amazing how few sentient beings inhabit this planet. Glad to see you are among the few.

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