Since I’ve been attending St. Matthew’s we’ve had a sunrise service on Easter. We gather in the church and tromp out at 6 AM to our chapel in the woods to stand by benches (er, pews) and light this huge fire, which we then light the Paschal candle (a big candle signifying Christ’s light and presence among us… among other things). We then head on back to the church singing in all our off-key glory to continue the service through readings, in a dark church. About halfway through we say some prayer, turn up the lights, and the whole room becomes festive.
In the dark everyone is silent, and it’s an amazingly peaceful and calming experience. In the light our breath explodes and the colors, light and sounds bring out the joy we feel at this miracle God has performed.
The funny thing is that Easter was really late in the year for 2009. So late that the time change had already occurred, which led to there being some light being out as we were in the woods.
Somehow that little bit of light made all the difference. Suddenly we were a group of people just getting together for a regular service. There was chatting between people as they walked, instead of being silent to watch where we were going. The light didn’t feel quite as bright (though it was huge, Rob burnt his vestments a little), and as we processed back to church we didn’t go quite as slowly, and we didn’t pause quite as often. Overall the whole thing felt a little less peaceful, and the excitement from the lights coming on was just a little bit less moving.
Little details are so important to our perception.
Watching the sunrise… but arriving a little too late.
Changing the sheets for your bed… at 2 a.m. because your kid had an accident.
Hiking through the woods… At night because you’ve lost your way.
Fishing with your dad… in the rain and snow that seeps through your clothes.
Sharing an interesting story… about how you got frostbite on your toes in the freezing water during a fishing trip (not the same one as earlier, and it was only frost nip).
Cleaning the dishes… because you want to get away from your spouse after having a disagreement.
Enjoying a walk through the park… because you got laid off and have more free time than you know what to do with.
What things are going on in your environment that changes how you perceive the situation?
How do you set your own environment before you do something?
Some people have a home office, but it’s pretty important to clean that up before actually doing any work.
When you go to a sunrise, are you going without a cell phone and iPod, or do you bring your own distractions? On the flip side there, are you using the iPod to listen to music that helps create the best environment for you to watch a sunrise and reflect?
How do you let environment change your perceptions?