Another rainy day today, with a thick gray cloak of clouds overhead until late afternoon. It was drizzling when I went out to run errands, and I didn't expect to encounter a spark of light.
And I certainly didn't expect to encounter it on the rose leaves again. Yet there it was, a more subtle light then yesterday, but once again there were drops filled with light and a few that sparkled, despite the gray clouds and the drizzle.
For months our congregation has been lighting a peace lamp each Sunday. We hear about one of the world’s troubled spots, light the lamp and respond to the leader’s “The light shines in the darkness” with “And the darkness cannot put it out.” (John 1:5)
This past Sunday one of our pastors, Heidi Siemens-Rhodes, shared with us that she learned earlier in the week that the cancer she had ten years ago was back. On Monday she had further tests and the news was bad. Not only is it back, but it has spread to several new locations. Radiation treatments started on Tuesday. Heidi, her husband Mitch, their three young boys, and their network of friends and family are still reeling.
There are many tears, and many prayers, and many photos of candles posted to Heidi’s facebook page. “The light shines in the darkness.”
It was raining Sunday as we heard the news, a slow, steady, relentless rain. As we anointed Heidi, we sang "Rain Down, rain down, rain down your love, God of life." (Jaime Cortez, OCP Pub)
It kept raining all day. It has continued raining all week, interspersed with moments when the rain eases. Yesterday brought one of those breaks in the rain, and the sun even came out. I seized the opportunity to get outside and walk around my yard and garden, checking on things.
My attention was caught by the splendor of sunlight reflected in rain drops scattered over burgundy rose leaves. The sight seemed to capture something of this week’s spirit of tears and of hope, of God's light shining in the darkness and in the midst of lament.
It occurred to me that a good practice these next weeks would be to look for the daily moments of light, and to try and capture them in a photo or words. And having just gotten this website up, a blog seems a good way to structure this prayer of hope and attention. I won't post every day, but I will keep watch, with my eyes and with my heart.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"