Feast of St Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury
SOMEDAY I shall be a great saint—like those you see in the windows of magnificent cathedrals. I will have a soul made of sunlight and skin as clear as the stained glass panels that make their skin, and I will shine like they do now—I will shine with the glory that comes over those who rise up early and seek the Lord…
But I do not shine so now—especially not in the morning. In fact, I grimace until noon. I would never be mistaken for a stained glass saint, though at 7 a.m. I might be grey and grotesque as a gargoyle. By faith I accept that “God’s commands are not burdensome," but right now I am not grown in that measure of grace that frees me to exalt in this particular command to seek Him “early in the morning.”
Right now it is dusk and far in the east the sky is being inked with the shadow that our earth makes of itself and some nearer stars are waking there. I am in a park in Indianapolis, IN, and right now these great trees are casting no shadows; the greens of their leaves are holding the last rays of sun already set and the sky in the west is bright and turquoise and it shines like a semi-precious stone—as if any stone could be “semi-precious.” And over all that I can see, over my motorcycle and the trunks and limbs of these hardwood giants, over this close-cut lawn and the now-abandoned tennis courts and baseball diamonds, over the sky (still fading, still and newly exquisite) and over me, a great peace washes. It comes up from the ground and down from the heavens—a deep peace breathed out by a universe that surrounds itself again by the embrace of its Creator—its God, who is to be sought by His saints in the hours of early mornings but condescends to seek out even sinners at dusk and washes them at evening in the peace of His presence and throws round their shoulders the cloak of His acceptance and puts on their fingers the ring of His pleasure—the pleasure He takes in them when He meets them here on the road even before they could get home, when He echoes in the evening the hymn He sang for them at dawn.
Someday I will rise up like the sun in the morning—someday I will shine like the saints who watch from cathedral windows. I know this, not because of any evidence I have produced of myself, but because of the witness of His scriptures, because of the evidence of His grace, and because of the testimony of this sky that washes over me at dusk.
*This column originally appeared in the Summer 1992 issue of Release magazine and was reprinted in 1998 with all of his other Release columns in the book Rich Mullins: Home. Both publishers are defunct.
Rich Mullins was a singer songwriter who lived in Wichita, KS from 1988-1995 where he graduated from Friends University. He is known to have visited Eighth Day Books and the case tops to his band’s lights and cords serve as the bar counter at The Ladder. Rich was tragically killed in a vehicle accident on Sep. 19, 1997.
Did you know Rich was a fan of the Inklings (C. S. Lewis & Friends)?
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