Summer Solstice

Armodoxy for Today: The Summer Solstice

Today is the Summer Solstice. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the day with the most hours of sunlight. Daylight hours have increased since the Winter Solstice in December, the day which enjoys the sun the least.

In the Armenian Church, much has been written and said about the Winter Solstice because the date of Christmas was changed from January 6 to December 25 in the West, to bump the holidays surrounding the solstice celebrations, thus facilitating the spread of Christianity.

With no such conflicts of date or celebrations, the Summer Solstice gives us an opportunity to focus on light itself.

A few years back, I found myself in a village in Rwanda working with genocide survivors. We conducted informal interviews with them, became familiar with their daily activities and then, as the sun went down, people wound down, and soon, it was 7:00 PM. It was dark outside. People were in their homes, preparing for their night’s slumber. There was no sound throughout the village. I thought it odd that people would be preparing to sleep at this early hour. And then it occurred to me, that without electricity, without the artificial lighting that the electricity provides, for all intents and purposes the day was over with the sun set.

In a world without electricity, you can only imagine how welcomed the longer days are. It meant more time for families and community building, more time for productive living, for gatherings, therefore, more time to share and celebrate, that is, to express love.

Light is the facilitator of life. Light maximizes the potential for life. With this understanding, listen, then, to the words of Christ:

Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him… A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” (John 11 & 12)

Some of the great treasures of our Faith are found in the simplest phenomena of nature.

We end with a prayer by the 13th century saint Nersess Shnorhali, I confess with faith and worship you, O Indivisible Light, unified Holy Trinity and one Godhead; creator of light and dispeller of darkness, dispel from my soul the darkness of sin and ignorance, and enlighten my mind at this moment, so that I may pray to you according to your will, and receive from you the fulfillment of my requests. Have mercy upon your creatures, and on me. Amen.

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