God leaves us a witness in the stars SanTan Sun News

God leaves us a witness in the stars

April 29th, 2021 SanTan Sun News
God leaves us a witness in the stars
Spirituality
1

By Lynne Hartke
Guest Writer

The mighty archer, Sagittarius, with weapon drawn, pointed his arrow at Scorpios above the southern horizon. Unperturbed, the arachnid swung his tail over the neighborhood streetlights illuminating my backyard at 4:30 a.m.

The bright star, Arcturus, hung over the roofline while the faint outline of the Big Dipper bedazzled the tail of Ursa Major, the Big Bear, visible over the silhouettes of my neighbor’s trees. Jupiter and Saturn shone through the hazy gray light of evening before the dusk surrendered to a brilliant cobalt blue along the horizon.

The one missing actor from the stage was the new moon, having tucked its shining side between the earth and sun during its monthly orbit.

Without the moon’s bright light for competition, the understudies received top billing like the stars they were.

This past year, I made a point of noticing the rhythms of the night, of documenting the arrival of each new and full moon.

Having spent hours of my life watching and photographing the rising and setting of the sun – arriving at picturesque locations with camera ready – I felt the nighttime skies deserved their turn.

After all, God made a point of creating lights for both. Genesis 1:14 ESV records, and God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years.”

Perhaps the pandemic made me more aware of the need of rhythms, of paying attention to beginnings and endings. In a year when many hellos and goodbyes were taken from us, the nightly exchange in the heavens brought me comfort as I was reminded that seasons begin and someday seasons end.

In March, my Uncle David died from cancer in Wisconsin. Unable to attend the funeral, I was thankful I could watch via Zoom.

The pastor shared stories of my uncle who passed a legacy of adventure and love of the outdoors to his grandchildren. The pastor also emphasized the importance of the church in Uncle David’s legacy, with one special highlight as he “was the first person baptized in this sanctuary (in 1941).”

Beginnings. Endings. As vaccinations become more widespread and restrictions are lifted, we will once again embrace the celebrations of graduations, birthdays, christenings, and weddings. And equally important, we will return to the compassionate farewells of funerals like my uncle’s.

The mystery of moonlight proclaims this truth and each month when even the moon forgets its lines and is silent, God leaves us a witness in the stars.

In His wisdom, He knew the night needed more than one light source. The testimony goes out from the Great Bear and the Archer, and from more stars than we can even see or name.

Peering up into the heavens, I watched the stars disappear one by one until only Arcturus still flickered above me. A mourning dove sang a final farewell as this last star slipped from view as the palest shade of honey appeared in the east.

Returning inside, I knew the stars would return the next night in their rhythm of remembering. God, knowing our propensity to forgetfulness, set in motion a reminder every twenty-four hours: the day belongs to God, but so, also, does the night.

Lynne Hartke is the author of “Under a Desert Sky” and the wife of pastor and Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke. She blogs at lynnehartke.com

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