Look to the Skies

I just read Isaac Asimov’s Nightfall in which a planet with six suns experiences a terrifying and maddening night of Darkness once every two thousand years.
Asimov wrote the short story (that inspired the novel) is response to Emerson’s quote:

If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!

David writes,

Oh Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

How strange it is in our modern world that we can avoid the sky. Sure, it’s obvious the sky is around when the clouds pour down rain or a particularly brilliant sunset paints the sky, but in my normal go-to-school-do-homework-get-some-sleep life I don’t stop to look up.

On camping trips I love to look at the night sky, especially when you’re far enough away from the city lights to see the Milky Way in all her glistening glory. Once we didn’t start cooking dinner until nearly 10:30 because our whole group was entranced by the stars, looking for shooting stars, contemplating the theology of extraterrestrial life, musing on notions of gravity and space.
The ancients understood the majesty of the sky, believing the gods lived in and moved across it in great chariots and that the heroes looked down from among the stars. The medievals ascribed attributes to each of the wandering planets and believed God was the great Prime Mover beyond the Fixed Stars.
What glory, what majesty, what immensity lies above.

Isaiah says,

Who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

And yet God replies,

I love you more than the sun
and the stars
that I taught how to shine
you are mine and you shine for me too
-Matthew West

He loves us more.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Look to the Skies

  1. Anson J.

    Reminds me of the big dome-city-things (I forgot what their official name was) of Asimov’s Robot novels, where every major city is under an enormous lid that shields out all weather and natural light. Anything in the sunshine beyond the city walls is associated with rebellious and shady behavior, but by the time the last book rolls around, our protagonist has gone from begin a cave-dweller to chillin’ outside with his son. Must be a favorite thematic device for Asimov, haha!

    Also, the Matthew West song you referenced ended a mystery song hunt for me — freshman year, I heard that song somewhere at Baylor (and also several times in Memorial’s music mix), but for whatever reason, my friends didn’t know it, I couldn’t find it online, and I was never able to pin it down… until now! So, thanks!!

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