Sunburst epiphany

Yesterday was a busy, Zoom-heavy day. It was also, for the most part, grey and wet, with little sunshine... except for a few sudden, unexpected bursts. Glancing up during my first Zoom of the morning, I saw sunlight briefly illuminating the bowl of stones and shells I keep by the window. I have seen this gilding before: on a thousand sunny mornings the sun has slanted through this window, lighting up all in its path... but even so, I stared wistfully from my chair, unable to leave my call, but longing to. As suddenly as it appeared, and all too swiftly, the sun receded, withdrawing its favours... And then, in a returning wave, it flared forth, flooding everything in its path with pale gold. And in that moment, caught up in this sudden burst of radiance, I heard snatches of RS Thomas' The Bright Field... 

Photo taken later
I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while... that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it.

It was the morning after the Annunciation, that loveliest of feasts. Was this, I wondered, how Gabriel must have appeared; an unexpected sunburst into Mary's house, casting radiance around him? 

Thomas suggests that such a moment is a rare treasure, but I prefer to think such richness can be ours, frequently, contained in life's many small epiphanies, many visitations. There are so many gloriously simple moments in which God's essence and glory break through, even if only fleetingly - the call to us is to awareness, to pause and notice them; to turn aside, as Thomas describes Moses doing.  

Yesterday, I thought of RS Thomas, but today... Today this poem dropped into my inbox, courtesy of one of my sisters, who has been sharing reflections throughout lockdown. And so today I read and share these words, expressing so much better than I can the heart-leaping moment of yesterday's momentary epiphany...

Between the light and dark,
the earth becomes a thin place.
where sunsets break time open
into the eternal present,
if just for a moment,
Our perception is altered
Like an eternal reset
of the heart.

~ Bob Holmes