When the Stars Shine Bright

sky2_1552774iI’ve been told that the English language can be difficult to comprehend due to the multiple definitions a single word can have.

As an example, think of the word “light.” It can be used in many different ways:

  • The words of the speaker shed some light on the subject.
  • Her suitcase was heavy, and she wanted to lighten her load.
  • He turned on the light switch, so he could see.

Light can also:

  • Bring comfort when a person is frightened
  • Be discomforting when it reveals a secret
  • Guide us or help to give direction: Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).

Many years ago, I had a conversation with Richard Gregory concerning his time in the navy. When the ship was sailing under a “lights out” order, an officer would summons Richard to the deck. Richard could look at the stars at night and tell the officer what time it was.

Richard could do this because he was a student of astronomy, and he had memorized four important landmarks in the night sky:

  • The 0-hour circle
  • The 6-hour circle
  • The 12-hour circle
  • The 18-hour circle

Richard’s ability to comprehend the night sky was a benefit to his shipmates. It not only told them the hour of the night, but it also helped to guide the ship.

In I John 2:5, John used a word that is meaningful to our discussion: “Whoever keeps His word, truly in him the love of God is perfected.” The word “keeps” was a nautical term. Sailors in John’s day would speak of “keeping the stars,” or charting their course at night by the stars.

The Star that shines more brightly than any other is the one that Peter referred to as the “morning star,” and He is the one to follow:

We ourselves heard God’s voice from heaven when we were with Jesus on that holy mountain. We have a fuller confirmation of the message of the prophets. You would do well to pay close attention to this word; it is like a light that shines for you in the darkness of night until the day dawns when the morning star rises in your own hearts.

~2 Peter 1:18-9

Think about it: You can lighten your load, brighten your path, and find your way through the darkness when you chart your course by the light of the Morning Star.

When The Lights Go Out

lightI spent a few hours late last night sitting beside my water garden. The cool night air, the hot cup of coffee, and the sound of the water cascading down the rock and into the pool beneath made for a relaxing evening. It reminded me of the many times I had paddled my canoe down a river, camped on a rock ledge and listened to the soothing sounds of the river as I drifted off to sleep.

As I sat there last night I noticed what often goes unnoticed—the lights across the street at Forest Park. They were shining brightly—doing their best to dispel the darkness of the night.

During the daylight hours, parents with their excited children rush by the lights without giving them a second thought. The patrons of the pool are so focused on their immediate pleasure, the lights are unnoticed.

How often do you think about the value of the light? You may give careful consideration to its convenience during a power outage. You may wish for a flashlight when you try to find your way through a house that’s so dark its ebony in color. But, how often do you neglect it.

At 12:05 Tuesday, the first 5 minutes of today, Forest Park went black. The lights went out. In the sudden darkness of the moment I noticed what I had taken for granted earlier, the comfort and the security of the light.

As I sat there, I was reminded of a verse from the book of Daniel: “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”

Does this verse remind you of your responsibility to share the light of God’s love, grace, and mercy? When will you let your light shine today? Where is it needed most?

Do you remember what Jesus said? “No one, after lighting a lamp, covers it with a basket or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a lampstand so that those who come in may see its light.”