Several years ago, when I was living four minutes from the beach, I thought it would be cool to go and watch the sun rise. Lots of churches have sun rise services outdoors and the congregation huddles on folding chairs and listens to a sermon and sings happy songs. I always thought we should sing, “Here comes the sun,” but it wasn’t in the hymn book.
This morning I arrived at the beach in the pitch dark and noticed lots of homeless people sleeping in their cars in the parking lot. I felt sad that they didn’t have warm beds. I got out and walked up the beach and suddenly had that feeling that I was being followed. I turned and sure enough, a man was following me at some distance. He stopped when I stopped and when I looked back later, he was still following me.
Normally, I am pretty bold, but I knew, somehow, that I was in danger. I have had this feeling before and if you ever have it, pay attention. I moved toward the lights of the neighboring hotels and went back to my car. The sky was just starting to get purplish. I could hear the surf pounding its hypnotic, eternal rhythm. But I knew I should stay in the car until more people came.
Then here came the sun, bringing light and life once again, flooding over the sand dunes, waking up the sleeping sea oats to a new day. The sun is a perfect metaphor for God, I can see why people worshipped it. Easter sunrise is a perfect metaphor for the resurrection; I care not that humans have gathered for the arrival of spring since time out of mind and it’s not an exclusively “Christian” idea. It’s in our bones, it’s in our DNA to rejoice that the winter has passed and behold, all things are become new.
Why do we disparage our pagan ancestors? They did the best they could with what they had. They, too, stood outside and watched the sun rise on the spring equinox and thought about life and light and had high hopes for the coming year.
Maybe they sang their own version of “Here comes the sun.”