I don’t remember the first time I looked up in the night sky and saw the moon and stars glistening, but it remains one of the ways I put air in my spiritual tires after a long day. The little lights scattered, and the moon in various degrees of appearance, are like having a progressive work of art hanging above me each night.
When I traveled out west as a child, I saw the night sky like I’d never seen before. Whether because of the lack of other lights, cleaner or thinner air, the western nights are the most dramatic I've ever seen. Just to put the experience over the top, it’s there I saw my first shooting star.
At some point, I learned something that changed my perspective about the moon and stars forever. They are not sources of light, only reflection of light. The North Star and its cousins contain no ability to shine light down on us. The moon, as dramatic as it can often be, contains no light either. The light they reflect comes from another source. The source of light is out of sight during the evening hours, but its light reflects on the objects in space above in a wonderful and glorious way.
It took me awhile to absorb this concept when I was young. I had to rethink things, which is always as challenging as it is life-giving. Now when I look up at night, I marvel not only at the canopy of natural art but also the source that makes it all possible.
Recently, I realized that a similar phenomenon surrounds me in the day as well as night. Whether sitting with a bunch of recovering souls over a cup of coffee, walking with a child, or watching the news, I am surrounded by stars and planets. Each, on his or her own, is incapable of creating light, but each is able to reflect light uniquely. It’s as if there is a source of light beyond our vision, and that source sheds light out into the world where it reflects on the you’s and me’s floating somewhere in our daily lives.
The Bible says we are created in God’s image. I wonder if we couldn’t also say we reflect God’s light? Whether big or small, famous or unknown, nearly perfect or utterly flawed, the light from the source shines on us all creating an equally inspirational work of art. May you and I receive the light as the gift it is, reflect it as the duty or sacred opportunity we have.