Lent 2: Something Old, Something New: The Stars

Lent 2 texts at www.textweek.com

Gen. 15:1-12, 17-18          Psalm 27          Phil. 3:17-4:1          Luke 13:31-35

“Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” (Gen. 15:5)

No, really, go on! Try! You can do it—start with that one right there. One, two, three…

Abram follows God outside the tent, stares up at the pinpricks of light in the dark sky. The desert at night is like blindness. The skyfull of stars is a chandelier. A welcome relief.

Are you doing it? Do it. Count, go ahead! Count: four, five, six…

Abram tilts his head, looks at God sideways. Are You serious? I can’t tell if You’re serious. His eyes track the glittering specks as God numbers them. Sigh. Okay, fine, if you say so. Seven, eight…

(Pause. Quiet, let the man count. The numbers slowly adding up into tens, twenties.  Fifty. He’ll reach a hundred soon, and even that won’t be in the ballpark. Give him time.)

Abram yawns between digits. Keeps counting.

Psst. It’s your children you’re numbering, you know. It’s generations. It’s nations.

Abram’s voice cracks, fades, silences.

He feels his eyes stinging, burning with dryness, with sand, with tears. Blinks several times, tried to clear them, clear his head. Tries to understand the stars.

He cannot understand, but he can believe.

Are you okay?

I believe You.

Good. But you didn’t answer the question.

I believe You struck the lights in the skies. I believe You shine through the dark, shattering barrenness into multitudes. I believe You have led me here… and I believe You’ll navigate my way ahead.

That’s what stars are for, you know. Navigation.

Abram takes in the whole heavens, as far as he can see in every direction. He forces his eyes open and holds them wide, no longer looking for single numerable sparks, but instead seeing clusters, seeing galaxies, seeing families.  He can’t bear to look away from them; they are his heirs, his blood, his future, spinning into infinity. Summoning him forward.

He watches them until his eyes water with the effort. Then he scrubs his fists into his eye sockets, hard, until the dark insides of his lids, the inner walls of his brain burst in starry flashes, sparkling, swirling in a private cosmos.


Will you follow them?

First published 2/15/2016 on www.bwim.info/blog

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