I found out a couple weeks ago that Eastport, ME is considered the easternmost city in the US, and therefore enjoys the earliest sunrise in the entire country. They have Kittery beat by about 20 minutes.
I've been captivated lately by "early wisdom." I mean this in two ways. There is wisdom that comes from rising early in the morning, taking time to reflect, to pray, to walk before tackling work or other responsibilities. Since coming back from a trip to Europe, while my body readjusts to this time zone, I have found myself rising early, nearly every day. The early rising has been like discovering a treasure chest full of water in the middle of the desert...an extra burst of life previously hidden in plain sight. Taking my time in the morning...using that time to connect with my wife, my dog, my God...taking long walks to connect with my breath and my body...to take in the sunrise and the morning tide...it has ensured that my day begins with serenity, with beauty, with peace...and that has changed the way I approach the rest of my day. There is wisdom in the early morning hours, for those awake enough to receive it.
There's another sense of early wisdom...the wisdom that we possess early on in life. Last weekend, we heard a quote from spiritual leader John Phillip Newell in our worship service, “I don’t believe The Gospel—the Good News—was given to tell us we have failed or been false. That is not news, and it is not good. We already know much of that about ourselves. We know we have been false, even to those who we most love in our lives…we know we have failed people and whole nations throughout the world…who are suffering from terrible injustice we could have done more to prevent. The Gospel is not given to tell us what we already know, it is given to tell us what we do not know or we have forgotten. And that is who we are, sons and daughters from the One from Whom all things come.” Newell declares that there is a deep wisdom we are born knowing...but we quickly forget it as we grow accustomed to the world in which we live. We are born knowing our deepest, earliest identity as God's Beloved...and sometimes we forget this identity so quickly in life, it's like we never knew it at all.
We are offering opportunities throughout this summer to reconnect with both kinds of this "early wisdom." Beginning this week, every Tuesday in July and August we are offering Agape Academy at 7:00p.m. in our Parish House. Unlike other academies--which insist you take in outside knowledge in order to earn knowledge, grades, and degrees--this is a way of learning that does nothing more than honor the wisdom that is already within you...within each of us...this early wisdom we were all born in possession of...the wisdom of God's Agape Love for us and for all people. You are welcome any Tuesday to join us for reflection and conversation...to rediscover this Agape Love in your life.
And every Wednesday morning at 5:30a.m., we will be gathering at Sea Point Beach for a short worship service. Our lives fill up quickly, and they move at light speeds, often in ways we can scarcely keep up with. You are invited to join us each week, right in the middle of the week, as it transitions from the week that was into the week that is to come...you are welcome to be among the first in the nation to see the sun, to greet the day, to hear the waves, and to hear God's call to you. It can be a space to grieve loss....or adjust to new transitions...or just have your breath taken away by God's beautiful creation. We hope you will join us any time you are awake early enough.