There is almost nothing like morning light. Sometimes it is subtle, pink luminescence hugging cumulus clouds. Other days the display is more dramatic, clouds scudding by to reveal a shimmering sun. Swirls of cobalt and coral fill up the sky, the great Creator layering color in the heavens. The show is not to be missed, yet I often am asleep in the radiant light of morning, especially on weekends. But when I rouse myself to walk on those early mornings, I'm always glad. The sunrise is like touching palm to palm with God, that contact a divine mystery I cannot truly explain.
I was reminded of this confounding notion when I watched a movie this week. Regularly I sojourn to the library in search of books and movies that might bring pleasure or stir my imagination. As I twirled the rack of DVDs this week, I came upon a movie title, Contact. I knew I'd seen the movie before, yet I coudn't really remember the premise, just that I knew I'd been intrigued. I noted that it had been produced in 1997. I almost didn't select it. Had it really been twenty years ago? Too old. But wait, it would cost nothing to check it out. If I didn't like the movie, I could turn it off.
I was not disappointed. The protagonist is a scientist that becomes fascinated with the universe when her father teaches her about stars and planets as a young girl. Her father dies when she is ten, yet she never stops hungering to discover life bigger and more intelligent than she in the cosmos. The scientist has a career breakthough when she hears a thrumming, rhythmic sound coming from somewhere in space. She is able to decode the tones, and the mysterious force provides designs for a space ship that will allow someone to travel to its location. All the while, the protagonist grapples with her skepticism regarding belief in a higher power. She needs proof. Her love interest does believe in God and asks her, "Did you love your father?" She answers, "Yes, I loved him very much." And her lover's response, "Prove it." She is speechless.
Eventually the beautiful intellectual travels to meet this curious life force in the specially created space ship that has all the world in awe. No one knows if she will be back. With extravagant fanfare, she is hurled into space. When she is close to her destination, she is thrown from her chair in the space craft. When she regains her equilibrium, she looks up, and hovering in the craft's window is a view she can almost not take in--something akin to the spectacle of earth's morning light. She gasps, "I just didn't know. I didn't know." She finally lands on a beach, turquoise waters lapping at the edges of white sand. In the distance, she sees someone approahing her. It is her father. He runs to her and cups her face in his hands. "How I love you you, Sparks (her nickname). She is incredulous, and embraces him, lays her head on his chest and breathes in his existence, the feel of him. She asks, "What's next?" Her father answers, "We see things little by little. Just take the next step."
When Sparks returns, and reports what she has experienced, no one believes her. The video she's recorded is only static. The mission appears to be a failure as in earth time, she's only been gone for ninety seconds, yet Sparks states she was gone for eighteen hours. She does not need others to believe her. Sparks is no longer asleep in the light. She has awakened and now believes in something greater than herself.
Sometimes I, too, sleep under the beauty of God's light and don't receive all that He wants me to experience. I want to wake up and lift my hands to receive contact with Him, His love. Allow Him to cup my face. Breathe in His abundance. Open my palms to His strength. Wade in the current of His joy. Morning light helps me remember.
More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God.~Psalm 40:3 (The Message)