Sunday Morning Illusion

Sunday morning. The music from my radio alarm clock had become a part of my dreams and I had overslept. I came out of the bedroom into the kitchen, thinking I would get a cup of coffee before anything else. My eyes blurry, my feet shuffling, I twirled the lazy Susan in my corner cupboard until I found one of my “pet mugs.” The corner cupboard, for some reason, is a very cold cupboard and I decided to fill my mug with hot water before making coffee so it would stay warm longer. As my black, round mug filled at our Instant Hot, I looked out the kitchen window, over the deck to the yard and on to the bird feeders that Certain Man had filled yesterday. I was suddenly stopped short!

There was a small fiery red flame on the birdfeeder that Certain Man had filled the day before. The sunshine was shining directly on it, and I instantly went to the “somehow the sun has refracted on the Plexiglas and started a fire” part of my brain (that didn’t stop to think that Plexiglas doesn’t do that!) and my blurred vision demanded a second closer look. I blinked really hard and took another look. It really did look like a fire starting on the edge of our bird feeder! About that time, something moved in that flame.

Well. The sun was reflecting brilliantly off the Plexiglas. And a beautiful male cardinal was sitting squarely in the middle of the sunspot at an angle that made it look like a flame. It wasn’t a fire at all. It was a wondrous display of illuminated red glory. It was so impressive that I ran to see if I could capture a picture of it. Of course, although I tried really hard, I couldn’t. No matter how close I brought it, it was all through a glass, darkly, and it just didn’t show the fire.

My heart was suddenly quiet before my Heavenly Father as I thought about all the things in my life right now that really do look and feel like fire. Things that I want to not only endure, but embrace because it’s the way things are right now and I don’t want to miss the lessons. But it’s not easy. (In fact, it’s hard!)

What if?

What if it only looks and feels like a fire, but is really the Son shining off of the commonness of our humanity, transforming it into something miraculously beautiful? What if we could somehow believe that what we are seeing here and now is only an illusion of destruction and is, instead, the Glory of God reflecting off our human experience and expression?

My Cardinal fed at the feeder, gobbling up the sunflower seeds and finally taking flight. I picked up my thoroughly warm cup and made a cup of coffee. Sunday morning. Our church family would be gathering in. I didn’t know it then, but this Sunday morning service would be a litany of stories of God’s Presence in the lives of these people I love dearly. We would go late, and no one would seem to notice. There would be triumphant singing, encouraging teaching, laughter and tears and reminders that there is too much at stake to quietly quit. And the fire in the lives of people I love would reflect the Glory.

What a sweet, sweet Sunday.

My heart gives humble, grateful praise.

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