Stars at Night

Stars at Night

Divine Majesty and Human Dignity
To the leader: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.
   Out of the mouths of babes and infants
you have founded a bulwark because of your foes,
   to silence the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are humans that you are mindful of them,
   mortals that you care for them?

Yet you have made them a little lower than God
   and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands;
   you have put all things under their feet,
all sheep and oxen,
   and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
   whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Sovereign,
   how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalms 8 (NRSVUE)

Okay, so today is our last Sunday with our “God’s Amazing Creation” theme. And so far, we have reflected on how all of God’s Creation works together (at least it’s supposed to!), about how we are surrounded by unexpected teachers of all kinds, and about how we can truly feel the presence of the divine, especially when our hands are in the dirt and we are communing with nature in our gardens. And this week, we are looking to the stars and the heavens!

I wonder, when you first think of stars, what comes to mind? Some kind of science fiction movie with spaceships and extraterrestrial beings? Or zodiac signs and constellations that make pictures across the sky? Do you think of camping trips that you went on when you were younger when you looked up in the night sky and the stars were so bright that you felt like you could reach out and touch them? Or, do you think of that song from Disney’s Pinocchio that says, “When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are, anything you r heart desires will come to you!” Can you imagine?

Stars open up not only an endless number of ideas and possibilities but also questions and dreams and feelings. But the most amazing thing that stars in the night sky bring is a sense of awe and the holy and sacred feeling that we are but a tiny piece of something even bigger than we can begin to imagine. And whenever we experience something holy and sacred like that, there is an element of mystery to it. Actually, it is that same mystery that connects us to, and feeds our faith. You see, truly having faith means not always having all the answers but trusting in God anyway.

Today the psalmist shows us the importance of celebrating the majesty while also asking questions. In today’s reading from Psalm 8 we heard, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are humans that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?”

Friends, today, as we reflect on God’s Amazing Creation and celebrate the majesty of the stars and the heavens, we are also remembering Maegan Dix on the fifth anniversary of her passing. So, at this time, I would like to invite Doreen and Michael forward to share a few words with us.

(Doreen Dix speaks)

Friends, there are times in all of our lives when we search for answers and for connections to people and things beyond this realm. In one of the most well known stories of our Christian faith, there is a group of people–magi, or wise men, or astronomers, depending on who you ask–and what were they following? They were following a star, looking for “something” that was beyond their understanding. They didn’t know where the star was leading them, but for some reason, deep in their hearts, they knew that they needed to follow it. And eventually, it led them to Bethlehem to see the Christ child.

Friends, it is human nature to search for answers to things that we can’t explain or wrap our minds around, questions about life and death and why illness comes to some and not to others. It’s the age-old question of why bad things happen to good people. Now friends, if you are looking for answers to those questions, I do not have them; no one really does. But sometimes if we open our hearts and try to look beyond our pain and our frustration, we find a glimmer of hope.

Folks, I wonder, when was the last time that you looked up at the stars at night? The truth is, many of us walk through our days with the weight of the world on our shoulders, looking down at the ground and seeing only the dirt and the rocks and the broken pavement. But let me tell you, my friends, there is another way!

Rather than being overwhelmed and looking down at all that is broken, you can raise your head and look up to open yourself to new understandings and possibilities as you gaze upon the beauty and the majesty of the stars.

This morning when you got your bulletin, you were invited to take a smooth stone star. I’m going to ask you to pick up that star right now and hold it gently in your hand. Take a minute to look at it and admire its colors and its shape. Feel the weight of it in your hand. Then think about a question, or a possibility, or someone you are worried about, or who has passed away. And just take a minute to look at your star as you open your heart not looking for answers but allowing yourself to ponder that which is beyond your understanding. Take a deep breath and take a minute to listen. Allow yourself for just a few moments to let go of your questions and your worry and your grief and simply feel the love of God surround you. Okay, now there is no rush, but when you are ready, I invite you back to our gathering.

Friends, the truth is, like our faith, and like the stars in the sky, love is vaster than the limits of our understanding. It’s not something that we can prove, or answer, or fully understand. All we can do is simply let it wash over us and guide us as we do our best to believe.

So, brothers and sisters in Christ, when you go home today, I invite you to find a special place for your star. Maybe in your pocket, or next to your toothbrush, or by your kitchen sink, or on your bedside table–somewhere that you will see it each and every day. So that when you look at it, you might remember to look beyond what you think you know. Take a moment to remember the past, but also allow yourself to move on into an amazing future. Be open to new ideas and exciting possibilities because, like the stars in the sky, the possibilities are endless!

My friends, may it be so. Thanks be to God, Amen!

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