Saturday, December 26, 2009



I believe it happened during a month when I was spending an inordinate amount of time in bed because of a pressure sore. Thankfully, when I spend time in bed I am able to work on my laptop computer making the downtime not as "down" as it would be otherwise. For some reason I was spending a lot of time reading the Old Testament. I just couldn't seem to get enough of it. I was reading 2 Samuel one afternoon when some words just leaped off the page at me. These words were David's final words recorded by the author or authors of Samuel, preserving a metaphor regarding Jehovah, Christ, The God of Israel. "Now these be the last words of David...The God of Israel...the Rock of Israel spake to me [saying]...And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds..." [2 Samuel 23:1-4] [Emphasis added]

I think David's metaphor concerning Christ struck such a responsive chord in me because of my love for the precious rising of the sun I have witnessed and enjoyed during my lifetime.

I have diminished eyesight. I can't really see out of my right eye and only good enough out of my left eye to read on my computer with the fonts magnified to the max. I can watch TV if I sit close enough to the screen and also movies if I am close to the front of the theater. However, one of the things I still am able to enjoy about life is to wake up each morning just as the sky is beginning to gray and witness the sun beginning to stream through the two large windows in my bedroom. To me it is a glorious and comforting sight.

I believe my love of the morning began when I worked for Kennecott Copper Corp. each summer as a young man. I would make enough money each summer working for Kennecott in Eastern Nevada to pay for two semesters at BYU the following fall and winter. I invariably worked what was known as the "Graveyard Shift" which began at 11:30 p.m. and ended at 7:30 a.m.

The summer I worked as a drill helper I will never forget. The drill was mounted on a rig that could be driven slowly from site to site depending on where holes needed to be drilled. We would drill holes all night and then in the morning the powder crew would come and fill the holes with explosives, ignite them, and the entire town would shake, rattle and roll for just a few minutes during the moment of explosion. Immense electric shovels would then scoop up the shattered earth which contained the precious copper ore, and deposit it in large trucks for ultimate transport to the mill and smelter.

Once the drill began its work the driller and his helper didn't have much to do but watch the drill and correct any problems that might occur.

The Liberty Pit in Ruth, Nevada, where I worked is located in a mountainous area which is more than 7000 feet in elevation. I remember standing and shivering outside in the very cold Nevada night air, hour after hour and night after night, anxiously awaiting one thing -- the arrival of morning. The Nevada nights were beautiful, full of stars, but I felt a great joy inside me as I looked at the Eastern Mountains and could discern them against a graying sky. The dark would reluctantly and imperceptibly give way to the powerful light of the rising sun. The morning star would still be visible, and then the sun would just seem to explode above the mountains and bathe me in its warm, life-giving rays. The long, cold night was over, and one of God's greatest gifts to his children, a new day, had dawned.

In the mission field I became an "early morning Nazi"(translation -- fanatic). I made it part of my mission to always be out of bed before any of my companions. I felt so righteous (self-righteous) as I would sit at my desk studying Spanish and searching the scriptures for an hour or so before my companions would begin to stir. Those hours, undisturbed by the awakening world, became precious to me. I would always make a point of going outside, or looking out the window as the sky would begin to gray to witness another glorious morning burst upon the world.

Arising early did not end with my mission. My most productive time of day was in those early hours before the sun would break over the horizon.

While I served as bishop my two oldest children were in early morning seminary, but not old enough to drive. We had an old Volkswagen bus and I would take my two children and pick up three or four of their friends and drive them to the chapel each morning. While they were in seminary I would run from the chapel up a street that led me into the foothills. My run would begin in the dark, but as I would return, the sky would begin to gray and by the time I reached the chapel to pick up the kids, the warming rays of the sun heralded that indeed, once again, a new day had been born.

I could go on with many more sunrise experiences, but suffice it to say, I think I know why David chose to describe Christ the way he did: "... He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds..." David was a shepherd boy who cared for his father's sheep in the hills surrounding Bethlehem. How many long nights did he spend guarding those precious sheep, anxiously awaiting the glorious sunrise and dawning of a new day? How he must have enjoyed the warming and life-giving rays of the sun that would come each morning bringing life to him, the sheep, and to the earth.

Christ himself said: "... I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." [John 8:12] Christ disperses darkness, the darkness of sin and of death. Light and darkness cannot occupy the same space at the same time. David's metaphor is very powerful in teaching us that Christ is as the "light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds", dispelling the cold darkness of night and symbolically reassuring mankind that just as the night of death will come to each one of us, so will their come a glorious and literal "morning" of resurrection.

The scriptures reveal the following significant truth as well: " in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. And the light which shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings... Which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the immensity of space— The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things..." [Doctrine & Covenants 88:7,11,12-13]

I believe when Christ comes to usher in his millennial reign he will come as the "light of the morning, when the sun rises, even a morning without clouds." I hope we will all be "morning" people then.

Yes, mornings are special as they remind us of the "light and life of the world".

1 comment:

Cam said...

Thank you VERY much for sharing those vivid memories and inspirational thoughts.

Cameron Hess