Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Consider the Heavens

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained; what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?...O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.   Psalm 8:3-4,9
I can't help but marvel when on a dark night I stand on the driveway and look up at the stars. I can't help but marvel and praise our Lord who made the starry host. I can't help but marvel and feel ever so small in this wide world and vast universe.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.  Psalm 19:1-2
 I marvel, but it is a half-witted amazement. When I look at the heavens I can only pick out Orion's belt. I rely on my eight year old, the budding astronomer, for information beyond those three stars in a row. I thought I knew Venus, but when we had an opportunity to look through a telescope, suddenly Venus had moons. Meaning, it wasn't Venus but Jupiter instead.

If I only knew the heavens, just a little bit, my wonder would multiply. Let's pretend that on a sultry May evening I looked up and could trace the outlines of Centaurus, joining even Ptolemy from the Second Century in seeing the centaur in the sky. As long as we're having such fun pretending, we'll pretend I can pick out individual stars within the constellation by their Greek names.  Naming off the Greek alphabet I come at last to Omega Centauri. Here is wonder, indeed!

As I stand on my driveway, head hung back, Omega Centauri appears to be one small star in the sky. But what causes me to marvel is that Omega Centauri is actually a Globular Star Cluster made up of something like 10 million stars. Simply traveling from one side of the star cluster to the other would take 230 light years. The density of stars within these star clusters is ten thousand times greater than the density of stars near the sun. If we lived within a star cluster, the sky would seem to have ten thousand more stars than it does when I stand on the driveway. One small "star," Omega Centauri, turns out to be millions, and is only one of hundreds of known star clusters. And all this is the work of God's fingers. He numbers the stars and calls them each by name; not the ones that twinkle on the driveway, but all the stars in the universe.

Our Lord calls us to know His joy. We run eagerly, thinking His joy is but one small light in the ink black sky. What if His joy is like a star cluster and once discovered there is joy ten thousand times greater? What if His delights number in the tens of millions and even some of those lead deeper into the unsearchable heart of God? What if the heavens are telling the glory of God? And He calls, "Come and enter into the joy of your Master."

You can see a Hubble photo of the Omega Centauri Star Cloud here.

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