leonid

leonid

The well publicized meteor shower is so named because of its’ proximity in the section of the sky near the constellation Leo.

It’s cold out there, I’m sleepy, and my bed is so nice and warm, my dog curled up in a tight little ball and sleeping by my side. But the red glow of the bedside clock tells me the hour has come. I pull on my jeans, slip my bare feet into cold sneakers, grab my winter parka from the hall closet and step outside into the chilly early morning air. “Shower” is maybe an unfair word – to my ears, jaded as they are by then instant gratification pace of life, it implies an immediate and constant barrage of a light show, but Leonid is not the finale from the fourth of July.

I stand for a while, gaping at the night sky, but there doesn’t seem to be much going on. Still, the stars themselves are an awesome and inspiring sight, and it’s crystal clear tonight. Not a single cloud to hide the twinkling lights hung by invisible threads against the inky black void of space. I remember another time, another place, the same stars… I was just a boy of twelve, camping with my family on an island in the middle of an Adirondack lake. I decided one night to pull my sleeping bag out of the tent and lay out on the beach under the stars. In that remote area there is no artificial light from civilization to smear the sky. There is no city traffic to break the stillness. I remember laying on the sand, wide eyed and holding my breath so as not to offend the reverence of the moment. I saw shooting stars that night too, and it was almost as if the Creator sat next to me on the beach, smiling and enjoying my reaction to His handiwork.

This morning for a few chilly minutes, I was back there. I had an unexpected and beautiful reunion with that same God and His stars. It was as if He said “welcome back. Where have you been? I’ve been here, patiently waiting for you. Do you remember my stars? Are the cares of your life really so big that I’m not able to take care of you?”

The stars became hard to see through the tears that came then, unbidden, to run down my cold cheeks. As I moved my hand to brush them away, three distant silent streaks of night fire split the sky, criss-crossing the night sky over my head, and I remembered the words of the hymn “Immortal, Invisible”:

Immortal, invisible, God only wise,
In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,
Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,
Nor wanting, nor wasting, Thou rulest in might;
Thy justice like mountains high soaring above
Thy clouds which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all, life Thou givest, to both great and small;
In all life Thou livest, the true life of all;
We blossom and flourish as leaves on the tree,
And wither and perish, but naught changeth Thee.

Thou reignest in glory; Thou dwellest in light;
Thine angels adore Thee, all veiling their sight;
All laud we would render: O help us to see
‘Tis only the splendor of light hideth Thee.