We were traveling home from Wednesday Liturgy last night, taking the freeway to get home. It was dark and I could see a total of about 5 stars in the sky. Now, I know there are billions more than this, because about 30 years ago I had opportunity to attend a weekend retreat in a desert in California. The first night I was there, I stepped outside and looked up. The display in the sky was so breath taking that I almost fell to my knees in worship. The heavens appeared as a black canvas sprinkled with glitter. Why couldn't I see this startling beauty back in the city? As much as we like to think that the universe revolves around us, we know that God doesn’t roll out this luminous exhibition only when we happen to be in the desert. It is always there and has always been there, since the beginning of creation.
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. - Psalm 147:4
It is a well known fact that we cannot see the stars when we’re in the city, because the lights from the city are too bright. Likewise, in the daytime the presence of the sun precludes our ability to see the stars. Light some candles during daylight, and you don’t even notice them in the room. It is only against the blackness that the true beauty shines forth.
Should we be so surprised that our spiritual lives wane over the weeks when we don’t take time to “come away”? We need to be reminded daily, hourly, of the presence of those billions of stars - God’s presence, his care and power. I don’t know any other way to achieve that other than spending frequent time in God’s desert, confessing my weaknesses, gazing upon his beauty, and listening to his words. I don’t have to go on weekend retreats – just daily ones. Step into his glittering cathedral as often as you can!