Easter morning the alarm yanked me from a comfortable sleep far too early. Deep darkness still pressed against all my windows. “Sunrise does not appear imminent,” I thought, as I stumbled across the room to shut off the insistent alarm. Sunrise had to be further away than an hour. The odd thought repeated itself in my head, like a chorus — Sunrise does not appear imminent. Why didn’t my mind simply say, “It’s still dark?”
I yawned and swayed between staying up and resetting the alarm. Trust in wisdom beyond mine (the wisdom of the pastors who had set the time for the sunrise service after consulting solar-lunar tables) held me up, and I set about waking my daughter and her friend, who had agreed to attend with me. We made coffee, and even stopped for cappuccino on the way to the island in the center of our county lake. Still, even though pale light now surrounded us, the thought came back — Sunrise does not appear imminent.
The service had already begun as we walked along the low causeway that allowed access to the island. Other people followed us. We joined the crowd, huddled close for both fellowship and warmth. I glanced at the treeline as the congregation, combined Methodists and Friends, sang and worshiped. A great blue heron rose majestically from the lake, while a trio of ducks dipped and rolled in an acrobatic show above us. A chorus of wildlife joined our hymn. Sunrise does not appear imminent.
As my pastor stepped to the podium to begin his sermon, rays of light broke through the low cloud bank that hovered just above the treeline. Like a fanfare of trumpets, these rays heralded the coming of the true dawn. Within seconds, as Don spoke of the risen Lord, a radiant sun, too bright to behold directly, rose to shine its light upon us.
Sonrise does not appear imminent! Suddenly, the message was as clear to me as the brilliant day. Sonrise does not appear imminent. As we go about our daily lives, absorbed in the many details of modern life, how many of us notice the heralds of the dawn? I know that most mornings I arise in the dark, then realize that while I went about my business, daylight has come without my taking note of it.
Will we treat the Christ the same way? Sonrise does not appear imminent. Do we listen for the trumpets? Do we watch for the heralds? Do we heed the wisdom of those who read the signs? Or do we arise in the dark, thinking, Sonrise does not appear imminent? Will we be suddenly faced with the presence of the radiant majesty of God, too bright to behold directly, and realize that a new day has come?
Sonrise does not appear imminent, but it may be closer than we think. Will we be ready?