Tabair dam amlaid, a Rí secht nime,
do serc im anmain, do grád im chride.
High King of heaven, Thou heaven’s bright Sun
I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.Revelation 21:22-24
The City of God, the capital of New Earth where you and I will spend our eternal moment, does not need sunlight because the very presence of God will be light enough.
Like many other images of “heaven” this one is a two-edged sword for me. One edge cuts as you might expect: It compels me and draws me in. The concept of being so close to God physically, so present to him that his light illuminates my world is pure joy. Have you ever felt that sense of joy when your beloved walks into the room unexpected? Don’t we describe that moment to one another with terms like, “she lit up the room!”?
I truly long for that heavenly light because sunlight is so unreliable around here. You may have it in December for a week straight, and then suffer through it’s absence for the entire month of June. Even at it’s best – it’s actually trying to kill you through heat and radiation! If you’ve ever stood beneath an equatorial sun, you know – it’s brutal. Cultures at these latitudes are structured around avoiding the sun altogether for several hours a day. So, yeah – I’m really looking forward to an eternal reality without having to live with Sol.
But the other edge of the sword cuts too. Only this edge causes me to balk. How “other” must this heaven be to exist without something as familiar as sunlight? How foreign it sounds! Like being in a place where no one speaks your language, where the smells are different and the food is unfamiliar. These experiences can be fun if you know you will one day return to the familiar. But what will it be like to exist in a sunless world knowing there will never again be a sun? This thought chills me. (pun intended).
Of course, allowing for a good and loving God, these questions are moot. It simply will BE glorious and joyous because that’s who HE is. It is pointless to worry about heaven being less then heavenly…because, well…it would not be heaven anymore! Yet, because it’s hard to imagine, it’s hard to trust.
Ah, trust! I find myself back here once again standing before trust like a judge on his bench, looking down on me with a patronizing smile and waiting for me to “figure it out”. He is a patient judge.