Not only is this the month of the Blood Moon, we have also witnessed a lunar eclipse. The moon in all of its full glory was glowing an eerie shade of red affected by the earth’s shadow. I read that the best place to view the eclipse was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I believe our side of the hemisphere proved to be a lovely spot too. I noticed it while I was out jogging, which is a great time to watch the stars when I should be watching where I am going.
While we admire the Blood Moon and this rare eclipse, the ancients often viewed such celestial events with a foreboding sense of dread and fear. Not knowing what they were seeing, it was assumed that it was a portent of things to come. Now we know better and even can predict the next one (in April, 2015). A few hundred years ago it was thought that the earth was the center of the universe. Now we know that not only is the earth not the center of the universe, but it is not even the center of the solar system of this galaxy. Furthermore, our galaxy, according to some astronomers, is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies. Our solar system is more like a suburb among the other galaxies, known and unknown.
The very thought alone draws me into a sense of Biblical awe and reverence. Long before telescopes the Psalmist thought as much. In Psalm 8 David wrote (and no doubt sung) “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” Again in Psalm 19 we read: “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.”
As much as we now know about the heavens and the spheres, there is so much we do not know. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: “Knowledge is knowing that we cannot know.” This is not an excuse for ignorance mind you; just a humble reminder that life is vast and ultimately incomprehensible. We do not know about the future, much less our present. We do not know about how it will all work out with our families, our finances, our health or even our church. There is only so much telescopes and microscopes can tell us. The rest is mystery…holy, sacred mystery.
It is not what we know that validates our faith. It is Who we know that graces us with peace. Both knowledge and ignorance can shackle us to fear and its sibling anxiety. To rest in the “Name above all names” can set us free.
To the one struggling to find a job…may the peace of Christ hold you.
To the one whose family is a disaster…may the presence of God sustain you.
To the one cowed by the “dark cloud” of anxiety…may the comfort of the Spirit fill you.
To all of us propelled forward in this expanding universe headed into an uncertain future, may we look up and experience the Word that calls forth creation to live, to love, and to hope.
In Jesus name,