O Light That Knew No Dawn

The sun came up this morning. Thankfully, I wasn’t up to see it, but I have since seen the evidence of its rising. And as the day progresses, the sun will go down and usher in the night. But the sun will come up tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun. Just thinking about it clears those cobwebs away. (Sorry about that lame joke. And if you didn’t get it, try this.)

Anyhow, we can all agree that there was a time, many years ago, that the sun did not exist. It’s hard to imagine this being the case, seeing as none of us were ever here for that time, but as a law of nature, the sun has to have a starting point. This is a favorite argument of people arguing the existence of God. Without question, everything in our scope of understanding has had a starting point. However, we must acknowledge that God created our scope of understanding, and that He truly does exist outside of it. He does invade it regularly, but clearly, our world is not His home, just as this world is not our’s.

Everything that we can see, taste, touch, smell, and feel has been created by God at a certain point in time. That’s everything. You, me, trees, dirt, mosquitoes, and kiwi fruit. But it cannot be stressed enough that God exists outside of creation. An easy explanation for me is that the world as we see it is the natural realm, but God is not natural in that sense. He is supernatural. This is an easy way to explain the miraculous. Natural laws are broken when the supernatural God invades a situation. So what is considered incredible, miraculous, and supernatural to us is just business as usual for God.

So yes, everything within our realm of understanding has a beginning. This is easy enough to acknowledge. However, many struggle with the concept of God because Christians teach and believe that He doesn’t have a beginning. Indeed, God is the un-created one, the light that knew no dawn. For me, it is simple to just agree that I can’t know everything. No one person can pretend to understand everything that is knowable, so why would we, as a collective group of finite beings, pretend to have any understanding of the infinite? It seems simple, but it would be arrogant to think that we could explain God. He is beyond our figuring out.

I’m okay with that. Maybe better: I’m resigned to that. In my life, I’ve seen enough to convince myself of the existence of God. There is no manila folder with photographs, documents, and phone transcripts for me. I can’t take what I know into a courtroom and win over a jury, and thankfully, the burden to do so isn’t mine. God has the very difficult job of convincing each and every one of us that He is who He says He is.

All that being said, I’m back to John Brownlie. He’s the guy who translated the Russian hymn about the death of Christ. This is another that he translated. However, the original of this was written by Greg­ory of Na­zi­an­zus, who died in 390 AD. Brownlie did a whole book of Hymns of the Greek Church in 1900. For me, this one was a real standout. So, without further ado, let’s get on with it!

To the Uncreated One, who lived before life was born,
Who outlives life and death itself,
Whose radiation shines beyond all light.
All else would pale beside You,
If any else could even stand beside You.
You are beyond our understanding,
Outside of our possibilities, and
Entirely alone in Your awesome might.

Yet I am invited to join You.
You recruit all into your glorious service.
Despite all benefits that are offered,
Most of all, permit me to hear your voice.
Speak Your life into my soul, and
May the words of eternity recreate me eternal.

Cleanse me Lord, and make me new.
Annihilate my sordid spots.
Wash my hands from my own filthiness,
That I may raise them unashamed.
May your praises forever be birthed on my lips,
And dwell undying in Your holy sanctuary.

There is nothing apart from You.
My best is wasted. My efforts; fruitless.
My only plea is for your mercy.
Remember me Lord, as You come into Your Kingdom.
It’s not because of me, my goodness, my might.
You have done everything for me to join You.
Forever I am Yours.
Forever, You are mine.

To view the original (and I mean the translation by John Brownlie circa 1900), click here.

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