NOVEMBER 15, 2012
In Search of God in the Sky
The other evening I was out with my dog for our 11 p.m. walk through the
neighborhood. These walks are as much for my benefit as they are for Sadie’s. The streets are quiet. The squirrels are asleep. The stars on most evenings are brilliantly, silently, glorious.
[WARNING: the next paragraph may be difficult for the technologically-challenged].
On this particular eveningI pulled out my smartphone. An infamous internet company named Google has developed a “Skymap” application for these phones that allows the phone-owner to point his phone at the sky and to identify every visible star, planet and heavenly object. It works on the principle that since the phone, using satellite signals, knows my exact global position, it also knows where I stand in relation to those heavenly objects.
[YOU MAY RELAX: The remainder of this column avoids further “geeky” explanations.”]
As I walked with Sadie, I held my phone up to the overhead sky. There was Jupiter to the north over Harrisonburg, the largest, most brilliant of the planets. I turned to the southeast and identified Uranus and Neptune. I pointed the phone toward the ground and identified five more planets on the other side of the earth, invisible to the naked eye from my position.
That made eight planets. I knew there were nine (using the old count before scientists upped the count to ten a few years ago). For a couple of minutes I continued to scan the sky from its zenith to its nadir. I could not find the ninth planet! I began to recite the names based on a old poem and realized the ninth planet I could not spot in the night sky was the one beneath my feet—earth!
I know all this sounds incredibly dense and remarkably stupid. I comforted myself by saying we all have those moments of “brain-blockage” when the mind misses the obvious. The fact is, I encounter such moments every day. Most of them involve my relationship with God. I search the sky for his presence and forget he is right here, under and beside and over me. Gituranschire
. I have moments when I forget his nature, forget the ocean of his love before me, stare into the darkness and fail to see the light of his grace dawning on the horizon.
I don’t need a smartphone to remind me that God is ever-present. His Holy Word tells me. The evidence is in His creation all around me. And I daily experience His presence in the midst of the love and fellowship of His Church.
May the Christ of the Blessed Manger and the Holy Cross be your guiding star this Advent and Christmas season.
- Pastor Bob