April 11, 2023
“…at the first signs of dawn….”
The story begins with this phrase. The women made their way to the tomb “at the first signs of dawn.”
Have you been awake before the sunrise? What are the first signs of dawn?
In spring, one sign is birds beginning the day with song.
The sky changes.
The heavy blue night sky slowly becomes lighter. Inky black-navy slowly fades into royal blue, then azures as the great light, the sun, begins its rise over the horizon.
Never the same, yet always there.
It is cold before dawn.
Even in summer, the dark feels colder. Then slowly, a warming accompanies the spread of light from horizon to sky. Bracing against the chill moves into being held by the glow that a new day holds.
With each dawn, the slumbering world awakens.
As we stay with this first phrase of the story in Luke 12, recall those dawns you have witnessed. Remember the times when you were outside before the sunrise and how it felt, how the dark enclosed you, and how the first sign of light turned you toward the east to welcome the warmth and light in its rising. Even when we are in fear and grief, the new dawn and its light guide us through the difficult day. Think of those who rise every day before dawn—new parents, healthcare workers, shift workers, bakers, bus drivers—all those who awaken before the rest of us, who herald and welcome the light for the world. Pray for the early risers, the early workers, for those who are sleepless from grief or fear, for those who are afraid of the dark and awaken searching for the first signs of dawn. Pray for all who need the dawn’s promise of awakening light and warmth that they may find hope from the faithfulness of each day’s return.
Consider setting your alarm tomorrow to rise before the sun—bundle up and go outside and look and listen for “the first signs of dawn.” As you await the first light of the day, Mary and Joanna, Mary Magdalene, and their companions keep watch with you. Imagine what wonders this day will bring.
Prayer: Holy One, thank you for the dawn of each new day. Open me to your light and hope and the promise of new life you give. In the name of the Risen Christ, I pray. Amen.
Photo: Nea Moni of Chios, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
I am not particularly fond of waking up early but, after having arisen, I enjoy the early morning experience. I recall from my childhood, the excitement of early morning trips to visit my grandfather. Our service on Easter Sunday morning used to be at 5.00 am – I believe this helped to re-create some of the excitement of the two Mary’s as they approached the tomb so many years ago. One major difference is that they were unsure of what they had seen but today we know that Jesus Christ is risen, indeed.