Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Open your eyes to wonder of creation

I HAVE one particular clergy friend who always comes to my mind at the feast of the Epiphany, which the church celebrated last Sunday. 

The feast of the Epiphany marks the visit of the Magi (sometimes known as the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings) to the infant Christ, guided by a star. 

My friend, like the Magi, was led to Jesus by the stars. He went to university to study physics and astronomy and the scientific study of the stars drew him into contemplation of the wonder of the universe.

This sense of awe and wonder was the start of a journey that led him to Christian faith and ultimately to ordination as a priest in the Church of
England. 

My grandfather, who served in the RAF as a navigator, learned to use the stars for the purposes of navigation and I remember well how, as a child, in the darker months of the year he used to draw my attention to some particular star or constellation. 

For my part, having lived most of my adult life in central London, where light pollution makes it almost impossible to enjoy the glory of the night sky, I know little of the stars, but since moving to Henley I have very much enjoyed clear nights when the night sky can be observed. 

There is something about looking at the night sky that inspires a sense of awe and draws one into contemplation.

So during this season of Epiphany I encourage you all to open your eyes to the glory of the night sky and the beauty of creation more generally. 

And it may be that we are drawn, like the Magi, from the contemplation of the glories of the created universe to the contemplation of the glory of the Creator. 

In the words of the Psalmist:

The heavens declare the glory of the Lord: and the firmament sheweth his handywork. One day telleth another: and one night certifieth another.

There is neither speech nor language: but their voices are heard among them. Their sound is gone out into all lands: and their words into the ends of the world. (Psalm 19,1-4)

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