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Soak up the sun

Soak up the sun

There’s a profound truth in this new local addition.

Today, on my walk, I deviate from my Pacman-like navigation of the blocks of my neighborhood.  Instead, I wander into the nearby sports fields of our town’s university.  I haven’t ambled over here in many, many months.

Something new catches my eye.  I can scarcely believe the transformation – the entire distant slope now displays rows upon rows of solar panels, arrayed like troops of soldiers, all dutifully raising their heads upward to the source of their power.

Of course, I aim towards them.  And almost immediately, a verse I read earlier this morning springs into my mind.

In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
    It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.  (Ps. 19:4c-6)

Two things stand out to me in David’s personification of the sun.  The first is the ebullient nature David assigns it.  It is as joyful as a bridegroom heading to claim his bride on their wedding day.  Or as a confident athlete thrills to run his race.

My cousin is a medal-winning, over-60 triathlete.  He beams in every photo I see of him before and after his races.  (Unlike David’s sun, I doubt he smiles throughout.  But knowing Warren, he just might!)

The second is obvious: it gives warmth to everything.  I mark how the engineers of this solar regiment have carefully chosen the direction that gives it the most face time with its energy source.  But even the tiny black-eyed susans know how to do that.

I see these two qualities in Jesus.  He is the ultimate bridegroom.  He also ran his course with the joy of the resurrection before him, bringing light and life to all he touched, to all who received him.

I want those qualities to characterize how I “make my circuit.”  To be joyful, purposeful, bringing the warmth of the love of God to all I interact with.

David, thankfully, tells me how.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
    giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
    giving light to the eyes.  (vs. 8)

In the first part of Psalm 19 – the nature part – God is referred to as El, a more general name for God.  In the following section about God’s word, Yahweh, is used.  It is his covenantal name, his personal name.

It’s clear that the way to radiate joy and purpose is to absorb who God is through his word.  To bask in the light of his revealed love.  To stay ever turned towards his way and his will.

The more we soak him in, the more energy we have.  That charge activates our joy, powers our resolve for the race ahead, and fuels our warmth toward others.

A solar panel.  It’s a great analogy to picture whenever I open Scripture.

Lord, let your face shine upon us that we might be powered to run the race you’ve set before us with joy.  Energize us through our time with you in your word.

Reader: What’s the most impressive power source you’ve seen in your travels?  (Or strolls around the neighborhood!)

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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