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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Follow the Sun

My squash understand being in the sun.

My soul posed this question to a sad and bewailing body, whether it could still be moved while on earth after a period spent in the sun.

  - Anonymous, Rule of Comghall (Irish, 8th century)

Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here."

  - Luke 9.33

I enjoy watching the squash in my garden as they follow the sun throughout the day. They begin right at sunrise, with their broad leaves turned full to the east. As the sun rises, they turn and follow it across the sky. By the end of the day all the leaves face westward, drinking in every lingering ray of sunlight, before the darkness stands them upright once again.

This saying in the Rule of Comghall is enigmatic. My sense is that it's a reminder to monks, working in the field, not to take too much time on break, basking in the warm sun. We need the sun to refresh and renew us; but too much sun can make one drowsy and unwilling to get back to the fields.

But I think there's a deeper spiritual warning here, especially for monks, who spent a good deal of their time each day basking in the Sun of the Lord - in singing, meditation, and prayer. This is good; we need such time in the warm light of the Lord's face and glory.

But we're not meant to stay there forever. It's sweet while we are in it, but there is work to do in the world. Let the Sun of God refresh and renew us, so that we carry His light back into our worldly endeavors. And let us not become so heavenly minded that we're no earthly good.

The purpose of coming into the presence of the Sun of God is, first, to enjoy His light and warmth, but, second, to be transformed by the Light of God, so that we go into our day strengthened and refracting His light to others. Peter would have enjoyed staying on the mountain indefinitely, but Jesus knew there was work to do in the valley below.

My squash understand being in the sun. The sun works with the water and nutrients of the ground, and with the plant's own chemicals and composition, to strengthen roots and manufacture food for the growing plant, so that it can manufacture food for Susie and me. The squash clearly enjoy the sun, but not as an experience in and of itself.

The purpose of the Sun is to give life, so that we may bear fruit unto His radiance and glory throughout the day. Let us bask in the Sun, dear friends, first thing in the morning and all day long. But let us bask so that we may grow and work and bear the fruit of the Light for others.

T. M. Moore, Principal

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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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