Son or Shadow Watching?
The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and the moon. (Psalm 74:16)
It lay just a few feet under the surface of a farm field, undisturbed for over 600 years. Now, it is a significant National Historic Landmark and a gathering place for Native Americans and archaeologists. On the list of possible World Heritage Sites, SunWatch Indian Village in Dayton, Ohio, is a giant sundial, a solar calendar.
When the Native people lived there, they set up a combination of tall tree poles in the center of the village. For decades, they watched the shadows of the poles, cast by the sun, to tell them the dates of the summer and winter solstice. They built two lodges, one for each of these dates. When the shadows were centered on the doorways of the lodges, they would reset their social and agricultural calendars.
When Jesus died for our sins on a tree pole, the cross, it was during Passover. This was a feast determined by that other great light in the sky, the moon.
Jesus died during the day, but God made it as dark as night for 3 hours (Mark 15:33). At the same time, when Jesus was nailed to the cross, God disarmed the powers of darkness, to forgive us all our sins (Colossians 2:13-15). Jesus, the Light of the World, became darkness for us so we might live a victorious life, now and for eternity.
The SunWatch Native Americans carefully watched the shadows to know when the seasons changed. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God, pointing us to the Son, Jesus, to help us become Son Watchers. When we fix our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) and focus on his light, our lives become as bright as the noonday sun (Psalm 37:6).
Father, God of Light, in whom no darkness dwells, thank you for sending your only Son to take us out of the shadows and into your Light. Help us to live as people who love and follow Jesus, the radiance of your glory, the true light of the world. Guide us as we shine that light into the lives of others who are still lost in the darkness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.