Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice

Journeying Towards Care for Our Common Home

Summer Solstice Reflection 2020

On June 20 we celebrate Summer Solstice.  We may think of this period as  merely a ritual belonging to our ancient ancestors and that in today’s world this ancient observance has little or no meaning for us.   However, when we take a closer look, we may find that Summer Solstice does indeed have more to offer us than we realize.

For us, in the Northern Hemisphere, the Summer Solstice occurs on the longest day of the year, the day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky.  The Solstice marks the change from the cold winter season to the new and warmer season of summer. The Latin meaning of the word solstice  is “the sun standing still.”  In this we are drawn to think of the sun as standing still shining its light and alluring all creation to notice it.  Besides its scientific meaning the solstice carries a spiritual meaning which is very important  for  us,  especially now as we move from the pandemic to a new normal.

This day is a reminder to us of the light and energy that is circulating in and through all beings including humans. We eat the sun’s energy everyday when we enjoy fruit and vegetables which have absorbed the light and the energy of the sun.  The Summer Solstice reminds us and invites us  to a deeper consciousness of the energy of  light which is a powerful reminder of the potential of light that is within each of us as the light of the world, the light of Christ. It is the cosmic light of unity ministering to the whole of the cosmos without exception. It travels through us as a light of unity and hope. We have only  to look at a tree to realize how, without stirring from its roots, its every leaf, its every branch receives this energy and light of the sun.

This is the light which awakens in us  the assurance that light overcomes darkness. In this we see the divine plan revealed in the natural world as a reminder of who we are in our deep connection to all of life and in our call to share generously with all in love and respect without exception according to need. In this oneness with creation it is our privilege to walk in this marvelous creation, absorbed in the work of God’s handiwork , as we are reminded in the psalms.

This longest day, offering  the most light of the year, is also a time to reflect spiritually on our own enlightenment and the strength of God’s light  present in each of us. It is the time of the most powerful light present on Earth, the most powerful reminder of the wholeness toward which we are called and the possibility being held out to us on this particular day. It is a time to change and mark a new beginning,  to motivate ourselves to take a deeper accounting of our spiritual and personal path, to determine what needs to be more aligned in our life and to take note of what is not serving our personal and spiritual growth.

As well as the experience of the felt inner energy of this day, there is also the external beauty and bounty that surrounds us calling us to celebrate the outer world as well as the inner world. It encourages us to spend time in the fresh air; and while walking, to pay attention to the new signs of life budding forth and to glory in a sunrise or a sunset. This is a time which invites a slower pace in life. We patiently wait for seeds to burst forth to produce new life without being forced or hurried. It is a time to let nature take her own course, to respect and delight in her ability and the lessons she has to offer us.

In this season of summer, we are strongly aware of the change from the cold days of winter to these longer, warmer days of summer. In this time of change we are also reminded of the change thrust upon us by COVID-19 as we enter into a new normal.  We do so with the hope that we will truly be directed in the right way so  as we move forward with caution and discipline in order for the virus will be contained. There is also the hope that the inherent goodness of true humanity will shine the light of compassionate care to heal deep divisions and inequalities and that the fabric of all life will reweave our interconnectedness with people of every race, culture and belief and our planet. At this time the pandemic has particularly attuned us to receive the fullness of this cosmic  light and energy. It is hoped that the celebration of this year’s Summer Solstice will stimulate the light of our consciousness inspiring us in our call to a deeper realization of our oneness with all creation

The celebrations for Solstice 2020 will be included in a week long interconnected and diverse prayer led by Indigenous peoples for World Unity Week. This 2020 Solstice will, we are told, be like none other.  Beginning with an Indigenous-led global Opening Ceremony that follows the sun starting on Friday, June 19, 10:00 PM EDT and leads to a World Unity Ceremony that includes over 100 NGOS and all the Interfaith and Inter-spiritual voices of Mother Earth on June 20, at 8:00 PM EDT. For more information see the following platform link.