Last week I spent a few days at Luther Heights Bible Camp, between Stanley and Ketchum, with a friend. We were there to contribute, specifically to lead staff training sessions. But there are always gifts received while at camp and this time was no different. On our second night, we stepped out of the cabin around 11 PM and took a stroll. The night sky was gorgeous. I remembered the times I came home to my parents’ house, west of Custer, SD, on college breaks. Having left the eternally grey skies of Moorhead, MN behind for a week or more, I would get out of the car and immediately look up into the clear starlit sky. I felt so much joy and comfort. During college summers, one of my favorite parts of leading backpack trips in Montana for junior and senior high youth was sleeping under the stars the last night of the trip. After college, I spent a year in Syracuse, NY working in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. My three roommates and I had a poster with memorable quotes from life together. One of the first Meggan quotes that went up was “Look, you guys. The stars are beautiful tonight.” My roommates (from Buffalo, Los Angeles, and Oakland) thought my suggestion was quite amusing, but I also got them to look up.
“God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.”
“’Is not God high in the heavens? See the highest stars, how lofty they are!’”
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;”
I do not know what it is about the night sky that I love so much, perhaps because it is not one thing. It is beautiful. It allows for discovery—finding different constellations. It encourages observation—waiting for a shooting star. It demands awe and wonder—the speed of light combined with the age of stars.
Somehow, the night sky can also invite deeper conversations. Laying in sleeping bags with a bunch of campers, we could suddenly talk about anything and everything. We all seem so insignificant under the twinkling dome, and the world stands still long enough for any question. And of course, there is the comfort that comes knowing that loved ones far away might look up and see the same stars.
Almighty God, thank you for the darkness of the night sky and for the twinkling stars. Thanks for wonder and awe and beauty. Thank you for conversations with earthly companions and knowing, even amid the vastness, that we belong to you. Amen.