Friday, 22 November 2013

The Moon, the Stars, and Little Us

Littlemore Parish Church

The Window for Sunday, 24th of November, 2013

The Moon, the Stars, and Little Us

There has been a waxing moon lately – well, there is most months! – and the stars have been much in evidence. A friend and I have been pooling our ignorance about one particularly bright and low star which we think is the planet Venus, and no matter how wrong we turn out to be, that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it. Since moving to the edge of the city, beyond the ring road, in Barton, the countryside and the skies have become much more apparent to me. It’s been a sort of earthing, that includes the heavens.

In his novel about Saint Francis of Assisi (“God’s Pauper”), Nikos Kazantzakis writes of Brother Leo who discovered God because he had no wife or family to demand his time and anxiety, and he could lie on the roof and gaze at the heavens. He found God through indolence, having the luxury to notice and think about things everyone else was busily taking for granted.

And what astonishing things they are. Just look up at the night sky, if you can escape the street lights for a moment, and see how crowded it is. There is no map I’ve ever seen which is as full of towns and cities bustlingly demanding our attention, as the heavens are full of stars. Kindly friends have tried to explain the constellations to me, but I am a bit dense in this regard, and all I can see is shining wonder.

And who am I, a tiny morsel of mortal humanity, amidst all this celestial wonderment, to be contemplating what God has made? The theologian will say, and truly, “you are a child of that same God, made in his own image and likeness, and that sense of wonder is God’s too – what you see, God sees, and God knows that it is very good – and you’re not so bad yourself, but don’t let it go to your head”. Theologians can be quite “earthing” too.

Richard Haggis
Barton-upon-Bayswater, Oxford
November 2013

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