There’s something very special about early morning. Ivor Gurney called it “day’s most sacred hour”.
Night has passed and a new day is beginning and I’ve been sitting, with a cup of tea, looking out on the garden.
I’m the only one awake in this house and it appears that there’s no sign of life yet among the neighbours. The ever present sound of traffic through the village near by is at a minimum. As far as I am concerned it’s just me alone with the dawn. To sit and take in the quietness and the stillness is exhilarating.
The birds, of course, have beaten me to it. It is surprising how many different songs I can still hear in the surrounding gardens. All my senses are involved; as well as the silence and the stillness there is the smell of the wet grass and the scent of ‘productive decay’ among the carpet of leaves, still lying where they fell a few weeks ago. It’s a heavenly moment.
I sit and watch the sun rise slowly over the trees and housetops colouring the few clouds in the east with shades of pink, changing to golden yellow. I’ll soon be feeling the warmth of its awakening glow.
With all the unspoiled freshness of the new day there is a sense of expectancy in the air. It’s the sort of inspirational start to a day in which visions are born and great works of art and music are conceived. I’m aware of watching God at work re-creating a new day: a glimpse in miniature of that Great New Dawn at the beginning of time, to which the first chapters of the Bible refer.
Such brief, heavenly, moments need to be treasured while they last, for, like the early dew on the grass, they quickly pass. Soon the noise of the daily rush hour will fill the air, along with loud radio music, hourly news bulletins, traffic reports, and the incessant sound of human voices pontificating on the ‘issues’ of the day.
‘O harken Thou, unto the voice of my calling; my King and my God;: for unto thee will I make my prayer: my voice shalt thou hear betimes O Lord: early in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee. And will look up’
Psalm 5:2-3 (The Coverdale Version -as used in Old Prayer Book)
Edward Elgar set these words to a piece of music for choir that I often enjoy. It reminds me of a delightful story I read in a Christian magazine some time ago.
A visiting missionary in outback Russia was being driven in a very rickety truck. As they drove along the bumpy roads he couldn’t help thinking rather apprehensively of the total lack of any backup breakdown cover in this distant place, so far from the nearest town or garage. He then asked the driver what happens if they had a breakdown out here?
With quiet confidence the driver replied ‘In the morning we pray, and in the evening we give thanks.’ The missionary said he felt very humbled by his own lack of faith and that assured answer to his question, from his Russian brother.
For us the day dawns, and so does our call to be up to meet the possibilities and challenges lie ahead. What better way to start the morning than to ‘touch base’ with our Creator and remind ourselves that our lives are in much ‘greater hands’ than our own.