Thursday, August 12, 2010

meteors, stars, & love i don’t deserve.

Last night my dad and I decided to go outside and watch the meteor shower. We grabbed lawn chairs and headed out back. We spent about an hour sitting outside, staring into the night sky, watching for meteors. We saw three.

Three meteors.

Now, if I’m being honest, I was hoping for some sort of spectacular laser light show in the sky. Something like this:

Seriously. Three meteors in an hour.

This got me thinking. (doesn’t everything?) I started thinking about three things: creation, entitlement, and waiting.

“Who alone does great wonders,
   for God’s steadfast love endures for ever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
   for God’s steadfast love endures for ever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
    for God’s steadfast love endures for ever;
who made the great lights,
   for God’s steadfast love endures for ever;
the sun to rule over the day,
   for God’s steadfast love endures for ever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
   for God’s steadfast love endures for ever.”
-Psalm 136.4-9

I used to hate the word “creation.” In my mind, it was directly linked with literal creationism and nature, two things I have disliked for most of my life. But as I’ve studied scripture and other things at Bluffton, God as Creator has been at the core of much of what I’ve learned. I’ve come to terms with the fact that God as Creator is a powerful image of who God is, and that identity echoes true throughout scripture and history. In a strange turn of events (also known as my faith journey), as I have embraced God’s identity as Creator, I have embraced God’s creation. What can I say? God gets me every time.

So anyway, back to meteors. Last night, as I stared into the night sky and saw three tiny meteors, I couldn’t help but smile knowing that my God created those meteors. All three of them. And perhaps more notably, my God created ALL the other stars in the sky. Which leads to my next thought…


God created every star in the sky. Yet as I sat there waiting to see the next meteor, I realized something: I was ignoring all the other stars.

According to this article, there are at least 70 sextillion stars in the known universe. I can’t even wrap my mind around that figure. But I’m so used to all those stars, the “usual” stars in the sky, that I found myself ignoring the beauty of the clear, star-filled night in my attempt to see the meteor shower. Then, when the “shower” only consisted of three meteors in an hour, I felt disappointed.

There is something seriously wrong with this picture. I think it boils down to the word “entitlement.” Somehow, my 19 years walking this earth has given me the idea that I “deserve” the regular stars. They are nothing special. They’ve been here forever. Why would I bother going outside to see that? But in reality, each night as the stars shine in the sky, that is a miracle…a spectacular work of art created and sustained by the beautiful, good, faithful God I love. When I look at these stars that have been shining since the beginning of time, I should be reminded of God and God’s love toward humanity that has been shining in my life and the lives of my ancestors since the beginning of that none of us could ever deserve. I could never deserve God or any of the things of God. I could never deserve the redemptive love of Christ. I could never deserve the sustaining power of the Spirit. I could never deserve the 70 sextillion stars in the sky. How could I forget?

“Do you still not perceive or understand?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes, and fail to see?
Do you have ears, and fail to hear?
And do you not remember?”
-Mark 8.17-18

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I am exalted among the nations,
   I am exalted in the earth.”
-Psalm 46.10

Earlier this summer, I was having a conversation about this passage with some friends. One of them said, “You know? I can’t remember the last time I was still and knew anything.”

I remembered that comment last night while we were watching the (lack of) meteor shower. If nothing else, I was still. And I was pretty sure I knew that God was God.

I started thinking about the meaning of this verse. First of all, being still- mind, body, and soul- is really hard to do. (at least for me!) And when I do manage to be still, usually I associate “knowing that [God] is God” with some sort of experience of God. My attempt at living out this passage usually goes something like this: “Okay, God. I’m still. Now that I’m still, how about if You stop being so still…let’s do this thing!”

But I think God has some different ideas. Sometimes, when we expect a fireworks display, God gives us three meteors in the course of an hour.

Isn’t that how God works? That’s why scripture tells us to be still and know that GOD is God…because if we were God, we’d get fireworks. But instead, we quiet our souls and wait, knowing that our God is God…

And we stand in awe of the meteors.

All three of them.

Pray Peace. Make Peace. Live Peace.

Katie :)

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