|The Vesper Light
We are tired!
What with Swim Fest, and Jerry flying to California for a memorial service for a cousin, and Family Day, and everything that didn't get done planning and doing those things…well, we are pooped.
I spent most of the day trying to get ready for the reinstatement of our choir for the Ranchers–the Down Home Ranch Chorus. I had a wonderful new song to introduce, and was determined to get it copied. Marci helped with Itunes and gave me a CD, and I reactivated my account okay, but nothing looked like it did when I last checked in four years ago when the kids gave me a Nano and I didn't make my deadline.
I made a lot of progress, but gave up about 11 minutes until 3:00, when Chorus was to begin. I was crushed. But we spent the hour working on breath control and a few oldies, and I'll have it ready next week.
I mopped up a few work things from the day, came home and assembed an enchilada out of last night's leftovers. Jerry came home just as the clouds opened up with a late-afternoon shower. After dinner he fell asleep in his favorite chair. I leafed through the Wall Street Journal for a while and then noticed that the light had changed outside.
It had turned golden.
“Vesper light,” I thought, and remembered the chant Jerry and I used to sing faithfully together for the first year after we came to the Ranch each evening as the sun went down.
It's the Phos Hilaron, and is said to be the oldest known Christian hymn.
Oh gracious Light,
pure brightness of the everliving Father in heaven,
O Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
Now as we come to the setting of the sun,
and our eyes behold the vesper light,
we sing your praises O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
You are worthy at all times to be praised by happy voices,
O Son of God, O Giver of life,
and to be glorified through all the worlds.
As I stood in the vesper light I remembered the words of the Phos Hilaron, and how after a lifetime living in the city, the cycles of day and night and the changing of the seasons came to mean so much more to our little family of three, living in a tiny trailer on several hundred acres 30 minutes from any town.
For one thing, we became acutely aware of the daily disappearance of the sun. As the last rays faded each evening Jerry and I would face the west and, holding hands, together sing the Phos Hilaron. Usually we stood on our tiny front deck, but sometimes we stood under the big oak tree in the front of the trailer while Kelly wheeled around on the tire swing.
When the sun was gone the dark was almost palpable–no outside lights of any sort. Just the light emanating from our little home.
Singing the Phos Hilaron sustained us in those early days on the Ranch. I don't know why or when we stopped singing it. Maybe as the Ranch grew, people joined our community, and lights began appearing we just felt less the need of it.
But it's funny how we come to rely on the things of this world, when the greater comfort is to be found in those of the next.