Monday, October 13, 2008

Shining Like Stars, Reflecting Like the Moon

The sky can teach us a lot about theology, I think. Granted, I'm no theological expert by any stretch of the imagination, but even in my simplicity, I see valuable things to be learned by observing the celestial bodies.

(Stars) Stars can demonstrate for us what it means to be a light in a dark world. Chad (our minister at BL) spoke last Wednesday on Philippians 2:12-16, which in many translations is sectioned off under the title "Shining like stars."

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out (or hold onto) the word of life."

Just like stars, I (and every other person who professes Christ)am called to live my life as a star. What does this mean? Just as the stars, although small, pierce the darkness of night with hope-filled points of light, I am called to be a piercing light in the darkness of this world. Although hard to live like that, it's such an INCREDIBLE privilege to have that calling to shine with the light of the Lord in a world that is black and often seems void of him. Also, just like stars, even when smog or clouds cover the light of the stars, they are still there. When clouds come my way and it is hard to see the light of the Lord in me, know that it is still there, but that I am allowing something temporary to (wrongly) obstruct my light.

(Moon) The moon can also teach us something. It wasn't until high school at some point that I think I became aware of the fact that the moon does not actually shine, it only reflects the light given off by the sun. Did you know that? It's pretty elementary, apparently (I never claimed to be a theologian OR a scientist! ;) However, when you think about it, this is a beautiful analogy of our relationship to the Lord.

For me, who tries to do so much on my own, remembering that I cannot shine on my own, win people on my own, survive on my own, or obtain salvation and the gift of God on my own, is a HUGE struggle! I am a prideful person, and I often try to rationalize attempting things for God on my own as being a "good Christian." There is no such thing. There is no good in me apart from God, and there is only his goodness and glory reflected in my life.

The sun is the source of the light. When the world gets in the way of that light, the moon reflects less than it is fully capable of, as is seen in an eclipse. Likewise, God is the source of light and truth, and when we put the world in front of him, we reflect less of his light than we were designed to. We were intended to fully reflect the radiance of his glory in our lives.

(Sun)Just as hinted at above, the greatest thing in the heavens we can look to is the sun, and the greatest thing of all is God. He is the source of light and warmth. He gives life to all living things on Earth, and he alone is worthy to be worshiped as sustainer of life. God is the one whose light shines, revealing all things that desire to be hidden in darkness.

I believe it was CS Lewis who said love was like a ray of sunshine. He said that love is not meant to be worshiped and exalted as the highest goal, but rather that love was a ray, pointing those who have experienced it back to the source: The sun. God is the sun. His love is a million rays bearing down on us, drawing our faces upward toward him. Through my relationship with Adrian, I see love in that light. Although it could be tempting to worship love as the greatest thing to strive for, I know that love is only a ray, pointing back up to God. Adrian's love for me is only a ray of sunshine, representing the tiniest fraction of the incredible power and love of God himself.

If you're a Sara Groves fan, you'll recognize the song playing on my playlist. It's a personal favorite of mine. She says this in a more eloquent (and succinct!) way. I encourage you to listen to it and the words and be challenged. How do you view yourself in relation to God? Do you reflect his light, or try and fail at creating your own? Do you effectively shine as a star in the darkness of the world? Most of all, are you worshiping God himself? Not his gifts, which reflect him, but HIMSELF? It's not easy, but what an incredible challenge to rise to!

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