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God declares the heavenly glory

God declares the heavenly glory

Psalm 66, 67 (Morning)

Psalm 19, 46 (Evening)

Judges 11:1-11,29-40

2 Corinthians 11:21b-31

Mark 4:35-41

Labeled-perseidsThis week is one of my favorite weeks of the summer–the Perseids meteor shower. What a wonderful coincidence that one of our Psalms today is Psalm 19! I can’t think of anything better for the week of the Perseids than to recite, “The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”

If you can go somewhere, anywhere, where there’s a little less light pollution this week, lie on your back, and simply gaze upward, by all means do it. Yeah, yeah, I know the peak times are always like 2 a.m. and I know there’s a full moon this year that will mess things up a bit, but on the years when the Perseids are good, the meteors start being noticeable not long after sundown–and even on a bad year, you’ll still catch a few.

I still remember the best Perseids Week I experienced in recent years–and the situation not of my choosing that made them better. Like a lot of rural folks, I have a dusk-to-dawn light on a pole. I usually try to get out in my pasture or up the road a little north of my house so the trees block it out, to do my meteor watching. But the year my dusk-to-dawn light shot craps, I could simply lie in a reclining lawn chair in my driveway. I was also going through some deep personal pain at the time, and I almost talked myself out of going meteor watching. That year was the most spectacular year I’d experienced in a long time–well over 100 meteors an hour–with some so large it felt like I could almost hear them sizzle as they hit the atmosphere. It was so spectacular I could barely force myself to go in to bed–never mind the next day was a work day!

The bottom line is that I did not choose this heavenly show, nor did I really expect it. My recollection was I was pretty blah about it in terms of my expectations…”Yeah, right, I’m probably going to sit out here and see absolutely nothing.” Yet it came anyway, bigger and grander and showier than I would have ever anticipated. God reveals heavenly glory at the times of God’s choosing–not necessarily the times of our choosing. Sure, we can try to be in the right place at the right time in potentially high-yield moments, but chances are, when it happens, it will be, as the language of our Book of Common Prayer says in several places, “more than we can ask or imagine.” The only requirement is being present.

When is a time God has declared a truly heavenly glory to you that was more than you could ask for, or imagine?”

Maria Evans, a surgical pathologist from Kirksville, MO, is a grateful member of Trinity Episcopal Church and a postulant to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. She occasionally finds time to write about the obscurities of life, medicine, faith, and the Episcopal Church on her blog, Kirkepiscatoid.


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Maria L. Evans

Thanks for your comments, Pam, especially that last sentence of the first paragraph. I agree wholeheartedly!

For me, the go-to hymn is “The Spacious Firmament, particularly the last verse:

“What though in solemn silence all

move round the dark terrestrial ball?

What though no real voice nor sound

amid their radiant orbs be found?

In reason’s ear they all rejoice,

and utter forth a glorious voice;

for ever singing as they shine,

“The hand that made us is divine.””

Pan Conrad

Somehow I knew you would find a TR in the Perseids. For years I had been singing “Break forth, oh beauteous heavenly light and usher in the morning…” I didn’t really understand that prayer viscerally until it I connected the heavenly light available to us all from within to the heavenly light that shines forth from the sky. When the night gets complicated and I wonder if the morning will ever come, I need only look up to remind myself that “He who made the Pleiades and Orion” will faithfully bring the morning.

Thanks for your wisdom and willingness to share it, Maria. You are a blessing.

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