Winter Sun

Waiting for the Sun

It’s less than nothing compared to the nearly incomprehensible suffering of people who are freezing in Texas or the stone grey skies of winter up north, but for we who are conditioned to the brightness of the sun, a few cold (by Florida standards!), gray, rainy days are enough to make us long for the sun to shine again.

Ernest Cadman Colwell — renowned New Testament scholar, founding President of Claremont School of Theology, and former President of the University of Chicago — was retired and teaching at Stetson University when I arrived, fresh out of seminary, for my first appointment at Trinity Church, DeLand, where everyone called him “Pomp.” I was, I confess, more than a little intimidated, but he was never anything but warm and gracious to this insecure, overly-confident new pastor.

He loved Florida, particularly fishing in the Gulf. I remember hearing him describe how he missed the sun during the interminable winters in Chicago, before he read one of his poems. The sun becomes the vibrant metaphor for the Son of God, whom Pomp knew so well. Whatever kind of winter you face, I hope you will read it slowly, savoring every visually delicious, life-soaked word.

Florida Sun: A Rhapsody 
“I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is towards me.” – Song of Songs 7:10

I’ve fallen in love with the Sun!
He has not taken my heart. 
He has taken me, — all!
I am His slave. 
I adore Him. 

I

I have lain with Him in a boat
Out in the Gulf of August
Until lips nor hands alone
But my eyes have been seared with His kisses. 
I have been mastered by love; 
Breathless, parched, and bruised, 
I have been one with the Sun. 
And I am content:
For there is none like Him, none!

II

I have known gray months in the North.
As I wake, I look to the sky.
Each hour I will Him to come.
There is no loneliness like my aloneness
For I have lived with this lover,
And I remember.

III

I remember the beauty he makes
Past the art of all painters.
The blue of the Gulf at his going
Pales all the paints on Man’s palatte.

I remember white pelicans circling 
High over blue waters up into His light
To vanish in air that is empty
But crowded with color.

I remember a storm in the Bay
That He broke through in light
To circle a bright yellow boat
With water pale green ‘gainst the black
While He held up the storm with arches of color.

I remember His rushing over the rippling Sound
With armfuls of diamonds.

He is a lavish lover!
And I am His!

IV

He will not limit His loving!
Each plant that grows, grows towards His light. 
And not the porpoise only leaps into sunlight; 
Not  alone the silver-sided tarpon leaps
Out of the sea into His light;
The stodgy mullet jumps
Once, and again, and again
Into the light of the Sun.
And once I have seen and twice
The giant ray rush out of the water
Into the sunlight soaring
Like a great bird flying. 
Even if He loves them all—
I am His slave. 
I adore Him!
(Ernest Cadman Colwell, March 11, 1957)

Keep holding on! The sun will shine again!

Grace and peace,

Jim

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5 thoughts on “Winter Sun

  1. Son, sun,Florida, The Gulf,Stetson all part of this Fl girl’s history. I love this, Jim. Thanks

  2. Thanks for sharing Dr. Colwell’s poetry. He was a giant as a scholar, but unassuming as a man, professor, and leader. He exhibited a quiet confidence that had no need to prove itself with every encounter. His formation of Claremont with his ability to attract the very best faculty made it a unique school among seminaries. We were all invited to be colleagues, not student-faculty. It was overwhelming to me but ended up changing me forever. My appetite for continuous learning was developed there and has not stopped. It was a gift to all of us. Thanks for sharing.

    Larry

  3. You don’t have to shovel sunshine! 😀

  4. Thanks Jim, it’s always good to hear from you. It’s always interesting and thoughtful. I hope you and your family are well, and that the country and world will calm down and in general make progress. Lisa

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Thanks Jim, for these words of wisdom! I so look forward to your every posting. Peace to you and Marsha.

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