Meditations on a sunset
I love sunsets. I can't remember a time in my life when I didn't like them. I remember sitting up on the roof of my house, realizing for the first time how the sunset turns all the houses and trees to gold for a few minutes before the glory fades. And here, where the sunset lingers longer, I love to watch the windows of the houses reflect the glorious final rays of the daylight.
After you watch sunsets for a while, you begin to notice something: if you turn your back to the sun, everything seems full of light. If you face the sun, everything around you is dark.
If you stand with your back firmly to the light, everything around you will reflect the light back, flaming signposts to direct your attention back to the sun. Every created thing tries to reflect the sun, in a desperate attempt to get you to turn around and look into the light; but all too often, we want to look at the reflection in the trees, and grass, and houses, and people, rather than at the light itself.
But when we turn to the light, everything else is dark, and we stand in shadows. We cannot see the glory reflected in anything, and the light itself burns our eyes, so we squint and our eyes well with tears. The world that was so beautiful becomes a valley of the shadow, and we can hardly bear it. But then we lift our eyes to the sun and all the other things fade away. We stand transfixed by the light, souls straining to fly away into the west.
At that final sunset, the trees will shout with the green gold of their leaves, the mountains will boom with the glory of God, and the houses will all burn with the flames of the sun, calling us all to turn towards the light. If we love too much the light of the world, and refuse to turn to the Light, we will go down into the final darkness. But if we lose the glories of this world to turn into the light, all around us will become enveloped in that glorious light, that will have the glories of the sunset, and all the promise of the dawn.