Saturday, April 11, 2009
Blessing of the Son/Sun
We have been blessed with sunny days here in Southern Ontario, from the beginning of Maundy Thursday, and through until Easter Monday, by the look of the forecast. I find it interesting that during this sacred time of Christ's passion and resurrection there was a religious observance in Orthodox Judaism related not to the cycles of the moon but to the sun.
Early on Wednesday morning Jews in countries around the world, including Canada, said a special blessing honouring God the Creator of all things, including the sun. This is one of rarest of Jewish religous observances because it happens only every twenty eight years. These devout Jews emphasize that they are not worshipping the sun but rather paying homage to the Creator.The Birchat Hachama says "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the Universe who makes the works of Creation."
A group of several hundred Jews gathered this past Wednesday for this sun prayer, on the flat top of the ancient mountain fortress called Masada in the Judean desert of Israel. It's thought that this is the first time in 2000 years that the prayer has been offered in this location. I have climbed up to the ruins of Masada (the cablecar makes it much easier!) where there is a spectacular view to the east and the Dead Sea. I'm sure this prayer experience was truly awe-inspiring.
This weekend when Christians are honouring the Son, the light of the world, we can give thanks to the creator of the sun which illuminates our planet.