One holiday in the Loire we found ourselves in peak sunflower growing season – fields upon fields of beautiful yellow flowers, their faces turned to track the sun, tilting together to revel in the warmth and light imparting energy that would turned into seeds and oil. The French name for a sunflower tournesol – turn-to-the-sun, exactly describes this quality of sun-seeking.
I think it was in a book by Margaret Silf that I found this image of sun-seeking applied to our awareness of God’s presence. Do we turn to face God, who is our light? We can seek God’s guidance, looking to God to absorb the warmth of God’s love for us. We can angle ourselves to absorb the most we can of God’s energy, so that we can turn God’s power to peace, justice, hope, comfort. Or, do we turn away from God, trying to hide our faces, not wanting right now to be standing in God’s gaze?
Again, how is our awareness of God’s presence with us? Do we feel the warmth of God’s presence, are we aware of the ways that God shines in our lives, are we attentive to what the presence of God feels like? Or do we feel that we are not tuned in to God’s healing light, perhaps feeling ourselves to be at too great a distance from God.
This is a simple spiritual exercise to try at the end of the day. Think about your day, notice the times when you felt like the sunflower, turned towards God’s light and aware of God’s presence. Notice what that felt like, revel in it and rejoice. Notice too the times when your awareness of God’s presence was diminished, or if you felt like you would rather hide from God. Note that too without fear but be honest with God, and learn from those times, so that you can tomorrow be more consciously orientated towards God.
When you see fields of yellow sunflowers or are measuring those growing in your gardens, then remember these ancient words of blessing: “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee. The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee. The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” (Numbers 6: 24-26)
Wishing you a summer warmed by God’s love,Alison