Sunrise at the Ocean

    What a gift to be by the ocean this morning: a room with an unobstructed view of the sea
    and sky, of dunes and sandy paths that wind their way to the beach!  I am up before sunrise
    with my camera in hand.  I am quickly aware that there are no people in sight—no one on
    the other balconies sharing this moment—no cars, no human noise of any kind!
    For 45 minutes I can barely contain my excitement as I capture moment after moment of
    God’s beauty in the changing light of the new day.
    I feel like I did as a child on Christmas morning as I opened one gift—and could barely
    wait my turn to see what surprise would be next!

    I become increasingly aware of the sounds that fill the air: the waves breaking against
    the shore and the diverse songs of more and more birds!
    From my balcony position I am able to look down on the tree tops when I am joined not
    25 feet away by a gray catbird sitting atop a spruce tree.  She sings her morning offering
    as she leans toward the rising sun.
    From my position, with camera in hand, I see her back as she is facing away from me.  I
    take some pictures, eagerly anticipating her change of position so I can photograph her
    fully as she sings her deliberate, complex offering.
    Then, I realize that I am an observer—and recorder—of so much more!!

    Through the eyes of faith, I see the darkness recede as the last pockets of shadows are
    replaced with the light of the hidden but still rising sun.  I see all expressions of nature
    give thanks to God for the new day—celebrating their renewed life!  Flowers open,
    birds sing, trees wave in the breeze!
    And then, I see at a distance where the sand meets the sea, a solitary soul.  She arrives
    to make complete this panorama of morning worship!!

    Creator God, I have so many feelings this morning—so much I want to say my heart
    feels as though it is filled to overflowing—and yet words cannot express all that I feel
    and all that I want to say!

    How great thou art?  I cannot fully know!  You replicate the few miles that I see this
    morning all over the Earth.  Countless others are blessed with your love and your gift of
    presence just as I am so blessed—and you do so every day and have since before
    Adam’s first day!

    Lord, I see you in your handiwork.  In all that you make, in all of nature, I see not only
    your creating hand—but I see and feel you!  I am comforted in ways that words
    cannot fully express by your presence with me—and give thanks for the reminders of
    your love for me in your creation.  They draw me to you and you fill my soul!  By your
    grace, I am aware of your presence in all of my life—but especially this moment!

    You have blessed me with the eyes of faith. I have not seen you,  but you have allowed
    me to live in your presence.  You have not audibly spoken my name, but I hear you, I
    see you and I am in awe!  You have filled my soul with times of such peace and such
    joy that they are already sufficient for a lifetime!  Like a child on Christmas morning, I
    eagerly await the continued revealing of the gifts of your love and your presence.

    Lord, may your love sustain me this day and lead me into opportunities to share your
    love and your powerful presence with others.  Help me to keep my heart open and my
    eyes and ears attuned to your loving presence this day.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.