Friday, August 1, 2008

Jewels in the Dark

One recent night I went outside before bed and sat under the stars. There was no moon, and it was the first time in many weeks that our California sky was not heavy with smoke. The blackness above was sparkling with jewels. Perhaps it's because it's been a while since I gazed at them, but the stars seemed larger and brighter and "jewelier" than I remembered. There were plenty of them, strewn thickly through the heavens like spilled salt. A shooting star sped by as a special treat. I saw bright orbs that could only be planets, though I'm not sure which ones.

Some folks complain about the lack of streetlights in our small community, but I am thankful there are none. Our skies are so clear that the Milky Way is visible; a rare sight, from what I understand. I thank God for the mountains that keep the coastal fog at bay and for the "cleanest air in California sixteen years running." Those things make the clear, bright beauty of a starry night accessible.

Below is Psalm 19, my favorite when I was in high school. I enjoyed the beauty of a night sky then, too. (And the last strophe has become a favorite prayer of late.)

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.

4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.

11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.


Poetikat said...

This was a lovely post, Esther. I enjoyed the Psalm and I do like the last strophe as well.
I hope you have not been affected by the hazards in California, of late. Did you feel the earthquake? I worry about my friends who are on the fault line.


Esther said...

Hi Kat: I feel so ignorant - where was the earthquake? (I guess that means I didn't feel it. :) Some of the fires have been in neighboring areas, though thankfully none have threatened us. Thanks for your kind words...

Macile Hooper LeJeune said...

Such an essay of the Psalm; one I do not recall ever reading before. Gee, must mean that I need to do more Bible reading. Merci for this look ... at your starry sky. >>>The earthquake was somewhere south; below Los Angeles ... I think ... and below there. DIEU TE BENISSE!!!
Cajun Sissy

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

You are indeed fortunate to see the stars in such glorious quanity! What a treat! The Psalm is a favorite of mine, too. Thanks!

Laure said...

esther ... i am a first-time visitor here by way of mibsy. as a coloradan, we also get some bejeweled night skies! i teared up to read your stat on having the cleanest air in california for the last 16 years ... how far afield from the garden we all are!!

my mom's name is esther. did you know that the meaning of your name is, "star." i love how serendipity (ya right!) waltzes into the everyday!

psalm 19 is so beautiful. and the word, "may," helps one remember that nothing ... from clean air to the words and meditation of our hearts ... is possible apart from the grace of our Lord.

MuseSwings said...

Beautiful post! Stars are God's diamonds. We can all afford to enjoy their beauty!

Esther said...

Macile, thanks for the info on the quake. No wonder I didn't feel it!

P, T & E: I'm glad you enjoy the stars, too, and the Psalm about them! Thanks for visiting.

Laure, thanks for stopping by! I'm glad your mom shares my name. (There are not many of us, it seems.) I have always loved that my name means star. Your comment, "how far afield from the garden we all are," does indeed bring grief, not only in terms of creation, but in terms of the awareness of God around us.

Museswings, what a lovely way to look at it!