Celebrating the Sun

From Rev. John Odhner, Assistant to the Pastor
August 13, 2019

On this very pleasant summer day, I hear the distant drone of a lawnmower and the quiet swish of my dishwasher, but the dominant sounds in my ears are the cicadas, crickets and birds. Crickets make fairly good thermometers. Dolbear’s Law says that you can count the number of chirps a cricket makes in 14 seconds and add 40 to get the temperature (°F). It worked pretty well for me just now except that it is hard to count one cricket’s chirps when 10,000 of them are singing at the same time.

Cicadas sing more when it is warm and sunny. They love the sun’s heat and light, so it is not surprising that some people see their songs as a consequence of the sun’s influence. Yet insects are not only a vital part of the order and balance of nature, but also a gift from God that reflects Divine Wisdom and Love. Once Swedenborg was speaking with some angels “about the amazing things that come into being as a result of the inflow of the spiritual world into the physical world. For example, the way caterpillars turn into butterflies, the activities of bees and drones, and the amazing ways of the silkworm and even spiders. Yet the inhabitants of Earth attribute these things to the light and heat of the sun, and therefore to nature…. “The only reason people think this way,” I went on, “is that they don’t know that the spiritual world exists. They don’t know that it works from within and activates each and every thing that comes into existence and takes shape in the world of nature and on the face of this planet. People don’t know that this process echoes the way the human mind is present in the sensations and movements of the body. They don’t know that every single thing in nature is like a membrane, a sheath, a piece of clothing that wraps around things that are spiritual and produces right next to us effects that reflect the ultimate goal of God the Creator himself.” (True Christianity 695)

An example is freedom, which we have from creation. The spiritual freedom which allows us to turn our thoughts to God on a summer day is reflected in the natural freedom the cicadas have to celebrate the warmth and light of the sun. And in fact, it is the warmth and light of the spiritual sun that gives the cicadas life and freedom to respond to the light of the natural sun. “Likewise, if every little insect had no freedom, there would be no silkworms producing silk, no bees producing honey or wax, no butterflies playing with their partners in the air, feeding on the nectar in flowers, and representing our blessed state in the breezes of heaven after we, like caterpillars, have shed our old skin.” (True Christianity 499)

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