Dear Friends in Christ,

“Somewhere the sun is shining God is smiling and everything is alright.
May that somewhere be within you.”

You may have noticed I have been saying this at the beginning of the 10:30 am service. For over two decades it has been the voicemail message on my mobile phone. Recently, I began recalling where this modified version of what I’d internalized originated. Trinity Episcopal Church is in Clarksville, TN and within walking distance of Austin Peay State University. During my junior year at APSU I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me back to my Episcopal roots and the sacrament of Holy Communion. Upon occasion I would trek to the earliest service on Sunday morning. The streets were quiet, and of course the liturgy familiar. No one beyond the ushers greeted me and that was okay because I had no intention of getting involved with the congregation. My purpose was solely tied to receiving the Bread and Wine. I sat on the right side of the nave and consequentially landed on the right side of the altar rail. Each time I noticed the words near the bottom of a stained-glass window that morphed over the years to something else.

Last Sunday a parishioner worshipping by livestream sent me a photo of her early morning view. The seemingly mysterious appearance of a rainbow facilitated by the perfect combination of moisture and sunrays always brightens the day. The sun shining!

This prompted me to call Trinity church to inquire about the precise words on the window. I was a bit concerned that a 1999 tornado may have caused damage. A quick review of the website brought relief. The roof and steeple were damaged by the tornado but the walls of the 1877 edifice remained intact. A kind woman answered the phone, listened to my story and someone in the office went to the church and took a photo of the window (see above and below). Adjacent stained glass windows bear dates from the 1880s. This one has no date but must have been installed during that era.

“Somewhere the sun is shining,
God lives and all is well.”

So, I carried and expanded those words all these years and at the time had no idea how ingrained they would become. Perhaps you have your own story of inspiration derived from a piece of artwork, or photograph, that has brought you through life. Let us thank God for the unanticipated ways in which life is renewed…the sun shining, God smiling and everything alright.