While we can’t be completely sure St Francis gave his speech, a cosmic rhapsody, the Canticle of the Sun is attributed to the 12th century monk from Assisi and is the inspiration for this week’s dance from the vantage point of the River Murray.
I speak to you today from the banks of an ancient river, lost to the inland and often struggling to find its voice. Home to an abundance of creatures and more likely to be silenced by others than to speak for herself. She rests gently between two banks and gets separated by man-made devices who regulate her passage across the land.
The creaks in the house boat give a little, adjusting to the changing temperature as day breaks, as the earth beneath expands opening up to welcome the rays. Next comes the warmth from Brother Sun as he finds his place in the sky, settling in to cast both light and shadow. There is no place to hide, all of creation is conspiring you to applaud and rejoice in the wonder and beauty. The smallest of creatures the ants make their way to water, collecting nano drops of hydrogen and oxygen to sustain their tiny lives. The pelicans rise in formation from the fog on the river, with their head wind breaking captain pointing them to food from her vantage point. Corners of the sky compete on how blue they can be (the west is winning).
Teeming with life and promise, the day breaks confident it will unfold and ready to receive what is offered. The day brings yes and, not yes but. Here is some fresh air would you like birdsong with that? Here is some greenery, would you like all the colours of the rainbow as well? Here is some laughter, would you like sighs and crying so you know what joy is?
All affairs of the heart leave you poetically speechless, overwhelmed by the astonishing thought that you are loved back for who you are, no strings attached, unconditional, pure. When Creation sings her song to you, wooing you and wowing you with her beauty, seduction is inevitable and surrender the only option.
Rapturous and voluptuous clouds confirm Brother Sun readily accepts the instruction to shine. And in his shining, he fills every nook and cranny, finding himself slipping through cracks no one thought possible, even at times, appearing as if coming from the bowels of the earth, refracting off complicated sets of angles and mirrors masquerading as flints and glass. He banishes fog bringing clarity by burning off the clouds who get in the way, letting them fade and dissolve. Letting the sun do his work is a lesson for us at any time – light is the most powerful of all instruments when it comes to revealing truths.
Be seduced my friends and yes, surrender. Surrender to the light and to majesty. Bow down to the ants and look up to the pelicans, prostrate yourself to the sky – they are your teachers and you are their apprentice. Let the Master of the Universe with his first brother, Sun, shine in your life, into the dark and dank places to reveal the truth of who you are: full, completed and a loved piece of Creation.
PS: Long before Brother Sun was named by Francis, a mighty warrior hunted the Murray cod and made the river.