There is something almost magical to me about that border time between afternoon and evening when the sun is setting and casting its glow. Sunset )the ‘vespers hour’) like sunrise, is a liminal, in-between time. Like the rest in a musical score, it calls us to pause, to come to a stop between light and night, busyness and quietness, between winding up and winding down.
Late afternoon takes my mind back a long time, to the years when our Debbie was little and every night I was home I told her a bedtime story. Almost invariably she would insist, “Daddy, tell me about the house with golden windows.”
Whether it was a story I made up or one I had read I do not remember, but it was about a father and his little daughter walking at the end of the day and in the distance seeing a house “with golden windows.”
Entranced, they walked quickly toward that house, but as they drew nearer the golden windows disappear and the windows become just plain old glass. They walk away and then just as suddenly the golden windows reappear.
At last the little girl exclaims with sudden recognition, “Daddy, that’s our house! But why does it only seem to have golden windows?”
The father replies, “Every house has golden windows if you only look closely and carefully enough at the right time.”
With a sigh of wonder and contentment, Debbie would slip off into sleep.
The lure of the golden windows speaks to the universal longing for home in almost every human heart, a longing that often seems to summon us with a special pathos at Vespers.
Adapted from The Attentive Life, by Leighton Ford (2008, InterVarsity)