The Light of Midsommer

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” — Genesis 1:5

On June 21st we recently experienced the solstice — the longest sunlit day of the year that officially marks the beginning of summer. Did you notice the increase of light, the long evening or early dawn stretching out? The birds are often loudest with their morning songs at this time. In many cultures and religions around the world, the day is marked by ancient traditions and rituals that predate Judeo-Christianity. In Sweden—the home country of Emanuel Swedenborg—the day is still celebrated as Midsommar, with dancing around a maypole and festive food and drink with friends and family. Swedenborg’s beautiful descriptions of heaven as a place where the spiritual sun never completely sets, but rests at a 45 degree angle shining on the horizon, imaginatively captures the endless light of a Scandinavian summer.

It is a rich time for us to reflect the season inwards, and think about the interior light and love in our lives over the last six months. Where have we been blessed and given, what has caused us to take notice of the Divine? Though summer stretches before us, the days will also begin to recede, as the earth spins back into longer nights and spreading darkness. What shadows do we carry forward, where is the light *not* shining in our lives, places we might want to be aware of in the months to come? Guiding us through the changes and seasons of our own lives, fortunately, is a very good directional compass: that map-book we call the Word of God, which opens with a Creation story focused on the emergence of light and the making of days and nights. Reading it mindfully, Swedenborg says, can bring us into the company of angels, shining a spiritual beam into the ways we are living our lives.

Devin Zuber, church parishioner