I am so looking forward to seeing some of the children and families of the congregation out under the stars this week when we watch a movie in the Seethaler’s backyard at the top of Dilworth Mountain. Doing just about anything under the stars can be breathtaking.
Maybe some of you have seen the Perseids meteor shower this week that is visible from mid-July each year, with the peak in activity between August 9 and 14. While we were at the cottage in July we were able to spot the Neowise comet, which appeared at the bottom of the handle of the Big Dipper in the night sky, and won’t pass this way again for another 6,800 years. Sometimes we have to get away from the light pollution of the city to see such phenomena, but not always.
I remember sleeping under the stars at Lumsden Beach Camp in the Qu’Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan; listening to the sound of crickets, watching the northern lights and the sky filled with more stars than I could count, and feeling an all-encompassing sense of stillness and peace. At this time when we are living through a pandemic, when we are longing for that feeling, what a gift it is! And it’s free! It’s just outside your door—in your yard, from your deck.
I am reminded, when I look at the star-filled sky, of the stories we have been exploring this summer in worship—which began with the promise to Abraham and Sarah that their descendants would be more numerous than the stars or grains of sand.
I catch a glimpse of the truth that we are all connected—you and me—to those faith ancestors who lived long ago. And we are connected to everything—galaxies, comets, meteors, stars.
I hope you have had some moments of peaceful reflection this summer, wherever you are. I hope you have been captured by a sense of awe and wonder in nature at some point during these weeks of warm weather.
As the warmth of the summer turns
To the coolness of autumn,
And leaves turn from green to
Brilliant shades of crimson, gold, and orange,
May we know your presence, beloved Son of God.
As the planting of the summer turns
To the abundance of our harvest,
May our hearts turn with gratitude to you,
Creator of All. Amen.
(Prayer written by Susan Girard, Riverview United Church, Atikokan, Ont. Used by permission from Gathering magazine.)