I often watch the dawn. We live in a flat with a huge window, overlooking a beautiful broad river, and the sun rises upon the waters by the bridge to my left, and sets above the weir to my right. It creates a certain perspective to the day.
I admit that sometimes I see the dawn whilst groggy with lack of sleep or hectic with mindless obligations.
But the deep silence, and then the solemn accompaniment of birdsong, quiet, piecemeal, stopping and starting; and the light upon the waters, shifting shadows and creating its rich chiascuro of emerging colour….
It’s the most amazing moment of birth.
It’s as if the world is having a prayer time before it begins anew.
So it has always been, I guess. The ancient documents of the Bible are rich with reference to this sense of birth and prayer, of hope and new possibility.
Isaiah dreamed of a dawn of justice, when the glory of God would rise and overwhelm the darkness of oppression: “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 58:8)
In this way the dawn became a symbol of the coming of the Messiah. Malachi 4:2: “But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.”
What a lovely picture of sunrise! Peter picked up the thread: “So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2 Peter 1:19)
And Luke even referred to Jesus as the Sunrise: “Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us.” (Luke 1:78)
So here comes the sun (one of my very favourite Beatles songs), and everything changes and is tranformed in its coming. The Apostle John referred to the dawn as a quantum shift in moral culture. Because of Jesus, everything is becoming new: “On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.” (1 John 2:8)
And Paul used the same image in Romans 13:12: “The night is almost gone, and the day is near Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
Good morning Lord. I open up my eyes to your new day. I open up my arms. I praise you, Lord of the morning. You are the One who makes all things new. You create and you recreate!
“New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.
New mercies, each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.
If on our daily course our mind
be set to hallow all we find,
new treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.” (John Keble)
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, And the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)