Summertime, sunny time – that is at least what we hope for. I remember in my childhood when we came back to school after the summer holidays you were always proud if you had a tan. That was a proof that your parents could afford a holiday in the sun.  Later that changed because then we learned about the risks of skin cancer. Nevertheless, we all connect the summertime with the sun. When you read this text, of course, you link the word “sun” to the star at the centre of the solar system. But when you just listen to this text, the pronunciation of “sun” could also have another meaning: son.
What I hate and love about the English language is that it is not a phonetic language. That means that a word is not necessarily pronounced in the same way that it is spelled. That is different for example in the German language. German is difficult (not only for the non-natives), but it is very easy to read. Almost always do the German words sound the way that they are spelled. That is so different in English. You all experience this when it comes to names in the Bible. Even in churches you can hear different pronunciations of biblical names. On the other hand, that gives the English language its ambiguity, its richness in meaning. British people like to play with their language, making puns, because the English language is ideal for this.
We can understand “son” when someone says “sun”. Shakespeare, the master of the English language, uses this pun in his play “Hamlet” when King Claudius asks Hamlet, “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” and Hamlet replies, “Not so, my lord. I am too much in the sun.” In this, “sun” can even have four meanings: “sun” as in light, “sun” as royal symbolism, “son” as the son of his father, or “son” as the son of Claudius, Hamlet’s stepfather. That is why it is much better to listen to Shakespeare than to read him.
And of course, for a Christian the “sun” can always refer to the son of God, Jesus Christ. Yes, you can be too much in the sun getting a sunburn, but you can never be too much in the presence of Christ. We can feel in the sunlight how the son enlightens us, making our lives bright. And Jesus as the sun even shines in the darkness of our time. Just look at the news from Ukraine and all the other war zones of our time or the effects of climate change. At the present time you can get the impression that the world is getting darker and darker from crisis to crisis. But as Christians coming from Easter we live by the hope that Jesus is coming again and with him the day without end as the last book of the Bible proclaims about the new Jerusalem, the symbol of the new earth: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelations 21:22)
The meetings of our faith course were such situations where I could feel the “sonshine”. And in this sense, I wish you a “sonny” summertime. Do not let the latest news make you despair, but bathe in the son. “‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” (Mark 1:15)                                                                                                                                                                 Johannes Wildner