Jul 27, 2009 by Nancy Buschart | 0 Comments
A midnight adventure took us down the path to the lake. Big Bertha, the huge flashlight we keep for power outages, led the way. The night was clear but the path was dark; stumbling was probable. The idea of encountering a skunk or bear, whose natural realm is the night, lingered.
The goal of our midnight soirée was to see the stars. The dock is a wonderful place to stargaze. The expanse of water below, without trees or lights to impede the view, provides a panorama for the show above and even creates a magnificent mirror doubling the experience of awe.
What we saw there on the dock pretty much defies description, but I will try. The Milky Way cut the sky in half. From one end of the sky to the other, the creamy, thick yet translucent, misty phenomenon led the eye, inviting us to follow its eternal course across the span. Stars and planets, large and small, without number, made me dizzy. A bright one in the east was probably a planet and out-shown its near neighbors. The Dippers, Orion and all were displayed before us in unashamed glory. When I tired of looking up, I realized the entire scene was reflected in the water.
Our responses to this scene before us – “wow!,” “oh, my!” and a gasp of surprise. We wished for a telescope to look more closely and a beginner-level astronomy book to help us identify and understand what lay before us.
I was surprised by this display. Although I’ve seen it before, marveled at its magnificence and been humbled by its vastness, it all surprised me again. I easily forget what I don’t venture to see.
As I lay on the dock, my thoughts went to the young shepherd boy tending his flock night after night under this canopy centuries ago. Although nighttime demanded that he be vigilant in protecting his flock from predator dangers, it was also a time for him to ponder what lay above him – Who lay above him and beside him. What stuns and surprises me only a few times a year, David pondered in every cloudless night.
The shepherd-king’s response to this glorious sight –
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what are mere mortals that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? . . .
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8)
Compared to the glory of the heavens, and the transcendent God whose creative power designed them, set them in place and on their path in relation one to another, why, O Lord, would you care for we mere mortals?
Like David, I felt small last night. Lying on my back beneath such a glorious and awesome sight, I was properly and appropriately humbled. And, I was grateful. The truth is that, though human arrogance and sinfulness means I can’t fathom why, the Creator of the heavens – of the Dippers, Orion, and the Milky Way – cares for me, for you, for every one of us.
Asking The Three Questions
Who is God?
He has displayed His glory in the heavens through the work of His fingers
Who am I?
Small and loved
How am I living?
I’m going back down to the lake tonight!
©2009 Vine, Vision & Voice
Nancy R. Buschart