Two years ago I sensed God calling me to take special notice of sunrises and sunsets. I had always enjoyed their beauty and had many memorable sunsets or sunrises, especially when traveling and I had time to focus on the beginning or ending of each day.
I will never be able to forget the sunset I saw from the rooftop of my hotel in Rome. I was all alone because my family was tired after a long day of touring and decided to take a nap before dinner. I was in Rome! I could not sleep so I ventured up to the roof. What was so amazing about this sunset was that earlier in the day I had seen the Sistine Chapel, but that masterpiece could not compare to the sights and sounds of the masterpiece in the sky. I loved sharing sunrises and sunsets with my husband in magical places like Hawaii and even at home in Dallas. Two years ago during Lent, God called me to catch as many sunrises and sunsets as I was able. I learned a lot during that time. I learned that God does not always give us a glorious sunrise or sunset. Before then, I figured I had just missed the magical transformations in the horizon. Waiting and watching every day, I learned that God doesn’t paint His masterpieces every day. The ancients pointed out that day after day of sunshine creates a desert. We need a little absence as well as variety to appreciate the wonder and the mystery of God’s glorious creation. I believe God teaches us about Himself as we ponder the heavens.
Colossians 1:16, 20 says it so eloquently,
“For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him…and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.”
When God created the heavens and the earth, He created a thin line between them. The priest in the Greek Orthodox Church prays over the bread for the communion (Eucharist) in many different ways; one of the prayers that he prays is for those who are in Christ including the living and the dead. When someone was explaining the prayer to me, he stated that there is a thin line between the living and the dead who are in Christ. The greater separation is between the living and the dead who are not in Christ. I have experienced this reality in a deeper way since my husband now resides in heaven. Bernard of Clairvaux stated, “I can never lose one whom I have loved unto the end; one to whom my soul cleaves so firmly that it can never be separated does not go away but only goes before…” The heavens at sunrise and sunset remind me of this thin line of separation. At those few moments every day, I remember that something purposeful, meaningful and more glorious than I could ever begin to understand is happening in heaven and on the earth. I can barely comprehend what is happening on my side; I will need a totally redeemed brain to grasp what is happening in heaven. Heaven and the earth are both equally important to God and are connected by a thin line of separation from God’s perspective.
This thin line of separation is a place of hope. When I look into the horizon, whether on a cloud- covered day or on a picturesque panorama, my soul is drawn to the mysterious and amazing God who insists on revealing His glory to me and teaches me to pray daily, thinking about heaven and earth. I really live when I become aware of this thin line of separation; it brings my life, hope, purpose and direction.