Posted by: Peadar Ban | December 5, 2008

Ad Orientam

Sunlight first enters the room through the window near the bed. The house faces South. That means that the window faces East. And the head of the bed is against the eastern wall of the house. That means I sleep Ad Orientam. I hadn’t thought of that until just a few moments ago. It’s become a habit to raise the blinds each day and take a look for the sun. Over the years I’ve learned the path it takes, marching back and forth along the horizon behind the roof lines, behind the oaks and pines. I find it and feel, somehow, a little better. It is here. I am here, too; at least for the present.

Since it is December 5th it’s almost finished it’s pilgrimage down the sky and reached it’s southernmost point. Soon, in a few weeks, it will be coming back. Sometime in late Spring it rises directly in front of the window. I’ve never noticed, yet, the day when it does that; but it’s something to plan to do.

Today, the sun rose beneath a line of clouds low on the horizon. They were spread, like a lintel above a door, across the point where day entered my world . The sun had shone itself, a red disk just entering the world, by the time I looked, and the cloud lintel was flaming gold above. My first thought was, “Royal!” That was pretty much the way of it, the feeling I got looking at the show God was putting on over on the low horizon. He was making a metaphor.

Then I remembered a couple of lines from one of the Psalms. Do you know which one? They repeat like a refrain a couple of times: “O gates, lift high your heads;/ grow higher ancient doors./ Let him enter, the king of glory.” After that there’s a couple of lines describing this King of Glory as a lord of armies, mighty and valiant in war.

It’s Psalm 24. I only know that because I looked it up just now and read the whole Psalm. It’s used from time to time in the Daily Office. Under the heading is a short note; “The Lord’s entry into his temple.” Well, I think that fits perfectly for the kind of sight I saw this morning. It’s nice and direct. Who comes? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, God. That’s who.

Ad Orientam. It’s a nice thing to wake up doing, looking East. I am thinking, now, of the Advent hymn, “People Look East”. On the little piece of paper where I found Psalm 24, the last three words, in red, are these; “The hymn follows.” Okay. Why?

Because, “Love, the Guest, is on His way.”

Come to think of it, it’s nice laying down to rest ad orientam, too. Old guys think that way a lot.

December 5, 2008


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