“Glory to You, Who has shown us the light! Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among people. We praise You. We bless You. We worship You. We glorify You. We give thanks unto You for Your great glory…” (The Great Doxology, Byzantine Matins)
Traditionally this is the way we greet the first light of the rising sun, every morning at matins, by praising God for “showing us the light.” This traditional, light-embracing approach to a new day is particularly helpful to me this morning, on September 11, when difficult memories fill my heart, not only as a native New-Yorker, but also as an Orthodox Christian on the Older Calendar, commemorating the Beheading of St. John the Baptist today. “Bad things happened today,” is the dark thought that comes to mind this morning, as I’m writing this reflection while it’s still dark outside.
But here’s another thought: Good things also happened today, and will happen today, as God continues to “show us the light” in His manifold ways. For starters, the sun will rise and give its light, as will God’s presence in my heart, in His “good will” and “peace,” as I open up to Him this morning. Thank You, Lord, for the good things, which You make happen even amidst and through the bad things in our world. Because Your light shines also “in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1: 5). May my heart be open to light today, in gratitude and praise. “Glory to You, Who has shown us the light!”
(Here's a picture of my brother, at his office in the Lehman Brothers building one year after the 9/11 attacks, when he and his co-workers were allowed back into the building. I talked about his experience on that day, when his building caught fire and he barely made it out via the crowded stairwell..., on this morning's audio-podcast. The rubble from the Twin Towers is in the background of this picture.)