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Romans 1, Rebellion and Sunsets

May 27, 2011

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20

Sometimes I read this and I recoil.

Sometimes Romans 1 makes me wonder at God’s perfect justice.

Sometimes I have to read “without excuse” a dozen times before I can do it without rebellion in my heart.

But it’s, always, only because I haven’t recently watched a sunset.

Only a King, one with an interest in a majestic death, could have come up with sunsets.

It rules the day largely unnoticed, but as it touches the horizon, the sun bathes the sky in color. The way it bleeds onto distant tree lines demands a moment’s pause, and we all feel it.

Sometimes the clouds line up to watch, but never without empathy. One moment they dot the sky, casting shadows within themselves against the violent display they decorate. The next moment they give in, thin to a soft blanket, and share the scene.

And we all feel it. We all see it. It captivates all of us. We try to take pictures on our phones even though we know we’re just going to delete – or, at best, make excuses for – them later because they never capture what we’re seeing. We try to paint and write prose and it’s never good enough. We sit without speaking, and it doesn’t seem to matter how many we’ve seen.

Why?

Do we ask, “Why?”

We ask, “How?” a lot, but do we ask, “Why?”

People smarter than me can tell us, “How.” How the light shifts to appear red. How the wind directs the clouds. How they change so quickly, yet so subtly. How sand from distant deserts contributes. How the earth rotates. How your eyes and brain communicate color.

And sometimes we mistake the, “How?” for the, “Why?” but it’s not the same.

I know how the sunset gets red – and pink and violet and orange – but why?

Why does the refracted light look a different color? Why does water vapor condense into clouds?

And more importantly, why does it captivate us so? Why is it beautiful? If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, why are we all drawn to this beauty? Why are half of the photos on Instagram sunsets? Why does it quiet us? Why do we find it worthy of our undivided attention? Every time? Why does it never seem to get old?

It’s just going to rise again on the other side in a few hours, so why this display? Why doesn’t it just slip quietly away and appear unannounced the next morning?

Not, “How?” … “Why?”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2011 8:51 am

    Great post! I listened to this series of teaching recently that takes a different angle on this verse. It’s called The Gospel In The Stars. Be careful though. It may just blow your mind. :) http://danielinstitute.org/media.php?pageID=19#4

    • Lex permalink
      May 28, 2011 11:55 am

      Definitely going check that out. Thanks!

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