Saturday, August 25, 2012

Starlit Nights

“He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.   Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”  (Ps 147:4-5)

Johann Kepler (1571 – 1630) is considered to be the founder of physical astronomy.   Did you also know that he studied for 2 years in a seminary?   Kepler wrote in one of his books, “Since we astronomers are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature, it befits us to be thoughtful, not of the glory of our minds, but rather, above all else, of the glory of God.”  (Morris, Henry.  Men of Science Men of God.  Master Book Pbl., 1984, pg. 34). 

The heavens are amazing when you view them in remote areas where no city lights can hinder the God-made brilliance.   In the farm country of Iowa at a recent family reunion we got a taste of the bright starlit panorama accented by dark sky and highlighted by fireflies all around us.  Beautiful and glorious.

One of my favorite places in the world is along the Musselshell River in Montana.    I recall camping there one night, the nearest ranch 18 miles away, no man-made lights to hinder the stars above.   The darkness of the sky magnified the illuminating stars of the heavens without the distracting disruption of unnatural lights.    It is an amazing place.

Many false, man-made lights distract the eyes of people from seeing the majesty of God, including false religions and even self-righteous practices and attitudes which cultivate legalistic spiritual pride with its false promises.    As Kepler said it, it is the glory of God and not the glory of our own minds---no matter how smart we think we are.  “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  (2 Cor 4:5)

I am reading a book about solitude as a spiritual discipline, and I am reminded of how refreshing it is to get away and be alone with Jesus, Light of the world, Who is building a kingdom of light(s).   Time alone with God strengthens our shine. 
And the stars are brighter when the sky is darker.  The stronger the darkness, the more pronounced His glorious light.     As we live in this dark, “crooked and  depraved” world (Phil. 2:15), we are invited to shine like stars in the universe as we hold forth the word of life.  For such we are named.

I want to enjoy and appreciate the heavens as they declare the glory of God.   And when darkness closes in and false light distracts, to shine.

“The heavens declare the glory of God.  The skies proclaim the work of His hands.”   (Psalm 19)

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