Star Gazing

Feb. 8, 2021

Scripture Readings

I read somewhere that among all the sciences, astronomy is the field of inquiry most likely to attract, and often produce believers in God. It’s easy to see why. The opening line of today’s Psalm of David is one of the most oft quoted of them all, “The heavens declare the glory of God: the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” I can imagine David, gazing straight up, perhaps reclining in a field in the middle of the night, overwhelmed by the silent, majestic expanse of the stars and the incomprehensible mind that created it all. He marvels at the precise trajectory of the sun as it reliably rises at one horizon and sets in the other. He ends the song with apparent gratefulness for a sun by which, “…nothing is deprived of its warmth.” (David never experienced Calgary in February, but I digress). 

We hear a lot these days about the so-called ‘conflict between science and religion.’ A friend recently told me about a conversation he had with a young man who, when asked if he believed in God, said, “No, I believe in science.” Ironically, the science he so confidently revered had its infancy in the observations and discoveries of deeply religious, God-fearing astronomers, mathematicians, physicists, and inventors. Sir Francis Bacon, the founder of the scientific method, said he was motivated to serve the church through his work. Kepler established a sun-centered planetary system, and postulated that all heavenly bodies and space symbolized the Holy Trinity. Albert Einstein stated, ”Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Our text from Matthew’s gospel brings us back down to earth as we read his account of the last few days of Jesus’ ministry before facing crucifixion. Jesus was at the home of Simon the Leper 1 Psalm 19: 1-6, Matthew 26: 1-30 where an unnamed woman poured very expensive perfume on his head, garnering much indignation from his disciples. Jesus rebukes them, and the woman’s act of adoration is forever remembered through its retelling in scripture. 

As we are reminded of Jesus’ betrayal for thirty pieces of silver, and then eavesdrop on the last supper that the Church to this day has emulated by the sacraments of communion, let us pause like David gazing into the heavens and consider the depth of God’s love that he would condescend to become, ‘God with us,’ even to die so that we might live.

Gerry Anderson

Former RCMP pilot who still loves to learn and serve