Winter 2006, January 2nd and I’m on-call for the out of hours service in Ayrshire. It’s been a busy night and about 3am we are heading back for the base. I’m “mobile” doing home visits that night and the driver of the night visit car — let’s call him Derek — is telling me about his hobby as an amateur astronomer as we drive through a deeply cold, clear night.
We stop on our way up from Ballantrae just on the edge of the dark skies park in South Ayrshire. There are no calls outstanding and we have 5 minutes for an impromptu astronomy lesson courtesy of the aforementioned Derek and his pair of high strength image stabilising binoculars. He points to a single bright star in the sky. That, he says, is a binary star system and when you look at it through the binoculars that single point of light will split into two. So I did, and it did, and it pretty much blew my mind. There it was, in plain site, I just didn’t have the vision to see it.
From then on, I’ve been fascinated by the majesty of the universe and all that is out there, real, for us to see the harder we look. The harder we strive, the more there is for us to see. And I thought about the light from our own world, reflecting from our faces shining on and on into infinity — truly bathed in the light of God.
My good friend Derek passed on 4 or 5 years ago. It seems like yesterday, but I like to think of us there, the reflected light of the cosmos on our faces (obscured somewhat with cigar smoke — it was new year after all) shining in its turn across the galaxies for other eyes to see a million billion years hence.
This, this is how big God is. But also how close, how revealed through the wonders of creation. We just need the eyes and to give it some attention.
Lord I shine like a jewel in your sight
You let me live again through you and in you
Changed perhaps, but essentially myself
We all meet again.
Thank you for that little piece of light on my face
Shining on through endless time and space
That marks out my time in this place
Remind me daily of your never ending light
Your never ending love
The measure of infinity
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. 25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness – 26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.