Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunrise, sunset

By Alice Valdal

At Bible Study the other night, the leader asked us to name a particularly special moment from the past week. A moment? Hard to distill all the lovely times with friends and family and a short vacation into one moment. But I decided to name the sunrise.

For thos of you familiar with the West Coast of Canada, you'll know this is our season of grey, wet days. But, amidst our rain, we have had some lovely sunrises. I find myself watching that moment when the sky lightens and the red ball of the sun appears, streaking horizon beneath the clouds with brilliant colour.
My Dad loved the sunrise, so I find myself sharing those early morning moments with him, in spirit, and smiling. When he first passed away, I wondered if I would ever feel like smiling again, wondered if the memories would ever bring comfort instead of pain. Now, I know. Time does heal and God never leaves us to bear our sorrow alone.

With all the grief and suffering that have occurred in Haiti recently, it is so important that we remember that death is not the end for us. The cycle of birth, death, rebirth rolls on with every sunrise, every seed we sow, every turn of the tide. God's world is infinitely intricate and infinitely wonderful. How perfectly amazing that He cares for us, in all our seasons.

On Sunday, my Dad would have turned ninety. I'll watch the sunrise, then go to church and lead my junior choir in the anthem "Sing a New Song." And I'll thank God for all the seasons of my life.

Music speaks to me in ways that mere words cannot. Among my favourite hymns that remind us of the never-ending stream of life, is this one.

The day Thou gavest, Lord is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest
To Thee our morning hymn ascended
Thy praise shall sanctify our rest

The sun that bids us rest, is waking
Our brethren 'neath the western sky
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high
( from a hymn by John Ellerton )

I'd love to hear about your favourite hymns. Leave a comment saying why a particular hymn or verse speaks to you and I'll enter you in a draw for a cd of Welsh Revival Hymns. Winner to be announced on Feb. 26, 2010. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.
To learn more about me, check out my website


  1. Interesting, Alice. I thought of the same type of thing yesterday when I went from visiting my daughter (baby due in a few weeks) to visiting my mom, suffering dementia in a nursing home. It's tough, but this situation has been in continuous revolution since the dawn of time. Babies are born, old people die.

  2. The hymn you quote is one of my favorites, too. I first heard it as a student in Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship. I already knew I wanted to serve the Lord as a missionary so my favorite verses are the ones that help me envision of the church around the world:

    As o'er each continent and island
    The dawn leads on another day
    The voice of prayer is never silent,
    Nor dies the strain of praise away.

    So be it, Lord! Thy throne shall never,
    Like earth's proud empires, pass away;
    Thy kingdom stands, and grows for ever,
    Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

    As I go to sleep here tonight, there are believers on the other side of the world who are getting up to begin living their day for the Lord. Thanks for reminding me.

  3. Glad you liked the hymn LeAnne. I too love all the verses. I guess it's only appropriate that this "international" group is atuned to the notion that dawn and dusk are two sides of the same coin.
    Do you know "Thy Kingdom Come, on Bended Knee"? Here's the third verse of that one.

    And lo, already on the hills
    the flags of dawn appear;
    gird up your loins, ye prophet souls,
    proclaim the day is near

  4. We live in the woods with windows all around. I just printed your verse to look at tomorrow morning as I make my first cup of tea.

  5. Alice, the sunrise photo is amazing :-) I'm usually not up early enough to see the sun rise, but we have incredible sunsets here over the mountains to our west. My all time favourite hymn is Amazing Grace.

  6. My favourite hymn ... How Great Thou Art. Firstly because it displays the awesome majesty of God, and secondly, because evertime I sing it I'm reminded of a late friend of mine who went to be with Jesus some 9 years ago ... Elaine just loved that song and I can still see her smile everytime we sang it in church.

    Narelle ... I don't do mornings either. A wise woman once said (actually it was Otto Koning's wife - the Pineapple Story - when her husband kept insisting on her seeing a sunrise with him): "... if God wanted me to see the sun rise, He would have scheduled it later in the day." She also said (and I'm sure she was quoting someone else here): "A sunrise is just a sunset in reverse", and I second that theory 100% - and do we ever have the most beautiful African sunsets in SA!