Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Stars and Lamp Posts

Have you ever looked up to the heavens far from urban life; up on a mountain some where? I've had that privilege a few times and I must say that if you haven't you really wont believe what awaits your eyes. I remember standing up on Mount Graham and just staring into a sky so filled with stars and shining heavenly bodies that it blew away all that jaded disappointment with what I thought was a starry sky. Trust me, if you haven't seen the night sky away from the city you need to make a promise to yourself, right now, to do so, at least within the year.

Jaclyn over at Pure and Simple recently posted this and thinking about that post brought something to mind which God, as He always does, tied in to other things He was already saying and used it as part of His teachings to me about Faith. If you'll allow me to share...

"Without faith it is impossible to please God." Hebrews 11:6
"That which does not come from faith is sin." Romans 14:23
"Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word." Romans 10:17

Now those three are pulled a little out of context but I'm confident that I am not wrongly using them, I believe the principles can be borne out at length.

The principle being, we cannot live by faith or have faith, without having first heard from God - for such would not be faith, it would be wishful thinking or random notions. Faith is faith in something.

Therefore, it is imperative that we hear from God. Not that we should strain but simply, that we should listen.

Things around us get very noisy. They fill our ears our eyes our minds and our time and make it impossible to hear and thus, by crowding us out, make it difficult, perhaps impossible, to live by faith. We need to take time to listen, and this, by necessity I believe, means that we must be careful to simply our lives down.

Many of the greatest things in Christianity are quiet, not noisy. God's word comes in the still, small voice. Calm, peace, patience, gentleness, security, even strength are quiet things. Joy and praise, in their exuberance, may be considered 'noisy', but they are not constant. I see more Biblical quietness in constancy interspersed with times of noise rather than noise, noise, noise with only a little quiet.

I think it's particularly poignant at this time of year, because all things are noisy around us. It can bee seen that Christmas is a very noisy time of year, yet Christ actually came in relative silence. Bethlehem was busy, noisy. Christ came in the quiet. The angles visited the shepherds on the hills, and that will have been quite an impressive thing, but when they got to the stable what did they find? Not much I expect. Just a small baby and two humble parents.

Oh, and yes, a star. Which brings me back to Jaclyn's post and my introduction. Why is it that the night sky viewed from a mountain yields a splendorous view of the heavens yet the same view cannot be found in town - despite the fact that you are looking at the very same sky?

Noise. The mountain is silent, where as the town, with all of its lights is extremely noisy. Looking at Jaclyn's images though I find it amazing that such grand wonders of immense size and number can be rendered invisible by an incandescent light bulb. Stars of comparable size and brightness to the Sun are hidden by a collection of tiny lamps. Why? Because they are in your face, in your eyes, yet you don't realise it, and so you never even imagine what glories the heavens hold.

The true life of Christianity is a life of faith - a life of listening to God and following Him where He leads. Thus it is a life of listening, and listening necessitates quiet.

Life in this country, in the west here, is often about entertainment - games and movies and music and clothes and everything else. It fills your life easily. It is a discipline for the Christian to make room for quiet. But in that sacrifice of the enjoyable but loud things comes the ever precious heavenly thing of God's voice, and with it the rising of faith and the power and direction for life.

God bless.

Special thanks to Trin.