Tag Archives: praise

Perseid Meteor Shower, Satellites and God

This morning, and it is only 5:30 yet, I am outside on the deck watching the sky—well sort of.  Actually it began at 2:30 am when I had to accompany Possum, my dog, outside.

I knew that Perseid’s Meteor Shower was in its best viewing, but our schedule means early bedtime.  We just cannot stay up to watch.  But in that early run outside, which is usually about 2-3 minutes, I saw the meteor, then the second one.

That woke me up, so in we came, turn off the lights, and out to the deck I came with a blanket.  Within another 15 minutes, two more meteors making four in 45 minutes.

Watching the skies after the sun goes down is one of my favorite experiences.  There is so much to see, to hear, and to think about at those times.

Our viewing time seems to get shorter and shorter, but we watch.  We count the planes that we spot and guess from where they might be coming and going.

We study the stars for movement spotting the satellites that keep circling our earth. Some seem to move so slowly while others zip past us.  Some have a strong light that remains strong as it passes over while others seem to brighten or dim as they move across the sky.

And always we hope, watch, seek to see meteors—falling stars.  So seldom do we get to see the meteors, so when we do it is a thrill. If one of us sees it and the other doesn’t, there is a bit of jealousy and the competitive nature seems to stir up as we wait and wait to see another.

I do not understand how anybody can deny the existence of God when sitting outside in the dark watching the sky.  That sky is heavenly.  God must exist.

The enormity of the world in which we live is so evident when sitting in the dark. My existence is such a tiny speck in the universe that is even vaster than our solar system.  God’s kingdom must extend beyond my human world.

Here I sit, on the deck with the night giving way to the morning.  I have a computer on my lap, a hot drink to my side, the birds waking up, a car pulling out of its drive, and the TV quietly telling the world the latest news.  And I know God is real.

How petty it is of any one of us humans to think we can exist independent of any other human.  To think that we can isolate ourselves from the universe in any fashion is absurd.

God’s world is so much more than this planet on which we live.

God’s world reaches far beyond even our solar system.  Just watch the night skies and consider the possibilities.

All the laws humanity has created can neatly be addressed by the one commandment: Love one another as you want to be loved.

Reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the instructions for living are so straightforward.  If you cannot live by loving one another, Paul’s instructions are much more direct:

 

Ephesians 4:25-32

25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.”[d] Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29 Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,[e] guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

 

As I sit and gaze up at the night sky, life becomes so simple.  No one can disrupt my universe at that moment.  Even when the dogs erupt in barking at the slightest noise or unexpected movement, no one can disrupt the sense of peace I experience at those moments.

I challenge anybody to sit out at night and look up to the skies.  Just the peace that can fill the soul at that moment is a moment to praise God for the life we have.

In those moments when I spot the plane or the satellite, I am in awe of the gifts God has given us to use.  The brain is such a complex design and God sat it in motion some how.

We may not completely understand how God exists or how to fully use the complex design of  our brains, but we just must not misuse it.

We must learn to use it to continue expanding the universe, true; but we must also learn to use it to preserve the universe, too.

Paul’s message to the Ephesians emphasizes, too, how we must use God’s gift of life to love one another.  He created us in a manner that we are gifted with a brain and the skills to use it. We just have to accept the responsibility to use it as stewards of this world, as neighbors to one another, and as peacemakers loving one another as we want to be loved.

Doing so, we discover the gifts God has for us whether it be the nighttime fireworks of the Persoid meteor shower, the sparkling stars of universes beyond our own, or even the manmade glories as seen in the tiny lights of planes and satellites constantly traveling around God’s world in which we live.

The morning sun is creeping up behind me.  I no longer see the nighttime stars.  The little hummingbird is chirping at me, and my day begins.

The marvels of this world all find their beginning in the The Word.  God is a presence in my life that feeds me as well as others who believe.  God loves each one of us so much that he was willing to do all he could to assure us that we do live in the Garden of Eden.

When we struggled to remain faithful, he never gave up.  When we kept messing things up, he made the decision to walk with us in the human form of Jesus.

And when Jesus had shown us how to live loving one another, and taught those around him, God took him home.  God had faith in those Jesus taught, and yet there were those who did not accept those teachings.

Even when Jesus was arrested, tried and crucified, God resurrected him.  God demonstrated how to love one another even when others do not.  Yet, God wanted to equip those who believe.

Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he taught one more lesson.  He explained that those who believed will always have God with them in the form of the Holy Spirit.

As this morning’s sunshine awakens the world around me, I know God’s presence. I believe in the Holy Spirit who keeps me connected to God and to all who believe.  I believe in the Holy Spirit as God’s presence that guides me in living a life loving one another.  I believe that the Holy Spirit fuels the way in which the gifts God gave us make and shape the glories of this universe so we may witness the light whether in the Perseid meteor shower or as seen in the manmade satellites.

God is good.  God is life. God is always present in our lives whether in the middle of the night or in the noon time sunshine of day.

 

A morning prayer:

Dear Loving Father of the Universe and beyond,

Thank you for the light show during the middle of the night.

Thank you for the quiet sounds of owls, bugs, and breezes against the wind chimes.

Thank you for the surprises of foxes prowling the yard, the rabbits eating the backyard clover, of the neighborhood cats climbing over the fence, and the music of the birds.

Thank you for the multitude of gifts you grant to each of us so we may expand our life experiences in so many different ways.

Thank you for the relationships that flourish due to loving one another.

Thank you for sending your son Jesus Christ so we could learn how to live side by side peacefully, lovingly.

Guide us in our decisions to preserve this world.

Guide us in the decisions we make in our daily lives.

Guide us in serving as your emissaries of love.

Guide us to find the best ways to tackle the challenges of those who fail to follow your teachings.

May we do all we can in our homes, our communities, and our countries to share you unconditional love.

May we all discover the glory of your kingdom now and do all we can to share it with others.

May we be the light in the darkest of nights so others may find your grace.  In the name of you the Father, your son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

Perseid Meteor Shower: 

[Accessed on August 13, 2018 at https://www.space.com/32868-perseid-meteor-shower-guide.html]

 

Earth will pass through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle from July 17 to Aug. 24, with the shower’s peak — when Earth passes through the densest, dustiest area — occurring on Aug. 12. That means you’ll see the most meteors in the shortest amount of time near that peak, but you can still catch some action from the famed meteor shower before or after that point.

You can see the Perseid meteor shower best in the Northern Hemisphere and down to the mid-southern latitudes, and all you need to catch the show is darkness, somewhere comfortable to sit and a bit of patience.

Comet Swift-Tuttle is the largest object known to repeatedly pass by Earth; its nucleus is about 16 miles (26 kilometers) wide. It last passed nearby Earth during its orbit around the sun in 1992, and the next time will be in 2126. But it won’t be forgotten in the meantime, because Earth passes through the dust and debris it leaves behind every year, creating the annual Perseid meteor shower.

When you sit back to watch a meteor shower, you’re actually seeing the pieces of comet debris heat up as they enter the atmosphere and burn up in a bright burst of light, streaking a vivid path across the sky as they travel at 37 miles (59 km) per second. When they’re in space, the pieces of debris are called “meteoroids,” but when they reach Earth’s atmosphere, they’re designated as “meteors.” If a piece makes it all the way down to Earth without burning up, it graduates to “meteorite.” Most of the meteors in the Perseids are much too small for that; they’re about the size of a grain of sand.

 

Just a note:

I missed sharing last week, and that is one of the truths I am finding during this time of recharging:  I do not have a formal schedule.  I have always functioned around a structured week.

Learning to establish a structure apart from a traditional job is a new learning experience for me.  I am setting goals and need to develop a “work schedule” in order to achieve those goals, but the summer schedule seems more erratic than I expected.

I follow another blogger who I admire.  She writes every day—or at least almost every day.  She includes pictures and other links with such ease. Hopefully I will develop a more fluid approach during the next few months as I work to reach new personal and professional goals.

Thank you for reading and sharing your input, too.

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A is for Apocrypha; P is for Psalms

given on Sunday, April 7, 2013

Every once and a while an idea just starts bubbling up in the brain, and no matter what you do, you cannot get rid of it.  Several weeks ago, even before Lent, I started wondering about the apocrypha.  Never had it been included either in Bible studies or in Sunday school classes, or even mentioned in sermons.

Yet, somehow I wanted to know what was locked away in this series of Biblical books.   Maybe the term Biblical does not apply because the books certainly are not included in our common versions of the Bible.  Still I could not shake the questions and the ideas that seemed to be flooding my brain.

Even though Lent demanded attention and then Easter called for more traditional readings and sermons, I could only subdue the raging in my head until time had come to consider post-Easter sermons.  That is when the phrase exploded—A is for Apocrypha!  Post-Easter means April and the A’s had come together—A is for Apocrypha.

To begin, the apocrypha is published in between the old and the new testaments and usually only in Catholic Bibles.  Why?  Turns out that the dates the various books are written are between 400 BC and Christ’s birth.  Apparently the gap really does not exist because various religious manuscripts surfaced during that time and were commonly accepted by the Jewish leaders.

Today we opened our service with Psalm 150; a glorious hymn of praise that we frequently include when the tone of our worship is full of energy and excitement.  The tone reverberates the loud music that is listed within the lines.  As April begins and we finally see the promise of spring, the promise of God’s gift of eternal life, Psalm 150 lifts us up from the worst of winter and makes us want to jump for joy.  A is for April, but P is for Psalms of Praise!

As Christians we recognize that Psalm 150 closes the book in the Old Testament.  Studies of Psalms explains the breakdown of the book into various themes and are arranged in an order that journeys the reader through the emotional ups and downs typically associated with David’s life.  Some are written by David, some are not.  But buried in the apocrypha is Psalm 151.  Why?

The Bible is a foundation for our faith.  We read it for guidance, for understanding, for God because he can speak through the words to guide us in our daily lives.  The Old Testament is what the Jewish people read.  The New Testament is added so the story of Christ completes or bridges our earthly life to eternal life.

Psalm 151 is different from those in the Old Testament.  It is autobiographical, written by King David, explaining God’s choice of him over his brothers.  Look back at those verses 1-4:

I was the smallest of my brothers,
the youngest of my father’s sons.
He made me shepherd of his flock,
ruler over their young.

My hands made a flute,
my fingers a lyre.
Let me give glory to the Lord,
I thought to myself.

The mountains
cannot witness to God;
the hills cannot proclaim him.
But the trees have cherished
my words,
the flocks my deeds.

Who can proclaim,
who can announce,
who can declare the Lord’s deeds?
God has seen everything;
God has heard everything;
God has listened.  —the CEB

The first verses of the psalm show who David is—a shepherd, a musician, an average guy who seemingly does not have the same qualities of his brothers.  Yet it is David that God chooses rather than any one of his brothers who most would identify as leaders of a nation.

Some translations of Psalm 151 consider the four verses the complete psalm.  But the scroll on which this psalm was found included the other two verses:

God sent his prophet to anoint me;
Samuel to make me great.
My brothers went out to meet him,
handsome in form and appearance:

Their stature tall,
their hair beautiful,
but the Lord God
did not choose them.

Instead, he sent and took me
from following the flock.
God anointed me with holy oil;
God made me leader for his people,
ruler over the children
of his covenant.  —the CEB

These three verses refer back to the story of David and Goliath.  They are written as autobiographical—in first person—so it does not follow the typical pattern of the 150 psalms already included.  In fact, one reference explains that the scroll on which the psalm is written was ripped.  There has been no way to assure scholars that verse 7 completed the psalm or whether there were more that have been lost.

Is there a message in Psalm 151?  Certainly.  God chooses those to serve.  David may not have felt he was worthy to be called in comparison to his own brothers, but he answered the call.  And in the verses 5 and 6, he explains that by referring back to his battle with Goliath.  He was the smallest, most unlikely of his family to become the leader that he did.  God called him, God anointed him, and God made him leader of the Israelites.

Are we hearing God’s call?  Maybe we do, but we do not believe in ourselves enough to answer.  All too often we ignore God’s calling.  All too often we talk ourselves out of acknowledging God’s call to us personally.  God knows the gifts he provides us, God goes with us wherever we go, and God gives us the strength to handle the whatever we must as long as we believe.

April is renewal.  Easter was the beginning of a new chapter in Christianity.  And just like A is for Apocrypha and P is for Psalms, there is more for us in April:

R is for Reading scriptures;

I is for Inspiration from the scriptures; and

L is for Listening to the Word of God.

The Old Testament spoke to the ancient tribes of Israel; the New Testament speaks to Christians since the beginning of the Church.  What lies in the Apocrypha is a mystery to the Protestants, but has been speaking to the Catholics and the Greek Orthodox faithful.  Therefore, A is for APRIL, a time of renewal, of exploration, and of listening to the stories of the Apocrypha, too.

Dear Eternal Father, Author of Our Lives,.

Open our minds to the stories in the scriptures.

Open our hearts to the messages Your Words share.

Keep us curious as we seek understanding.

Keep us faithful to Your commandments.

Use us to reach out to others in need of Your grace.

Use us to demonstrate Your love to one and another.

As the scriptures tell us the story,

Let us tell the story, too, so others may be transformed.  –Amen

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