Monday, August 21, 2006

contemplations in the moonlight

I found myself thinking about the moon the other day. The moon always gets a bad rap for having no light of its own. A celestial second-class citizen, standing by just reflecting. I remember a science teacher somewhere back in my school days scoffing that men of old thought the moon was a light source when really it's all second hand illumination. But I was wondering the other day if reflected light is really so bad?

Sure the sun is fantastic and powerful and creates its own light, but it occurred to me that you can't look at the sun. It's there and you feel its influence but you can only glimpse it from the corner of your eye. It's so bright, but you can't really see if for yourself. The moon is reflected light. It doesn't control the seasons but controls the tides and you can actually look at the moon. You can sit there gazing at it, contemplating it. It's not enough light to get a sunburn, but it's enough light on a clear night to find your way.

And I wonder if we're a little bit like that with God. God is huge and awesome and knowable but incomprehensible. He's too much for finite minds. Maybe we're a little bit like the moon -- reflections of a light that's not our own. I wonder if that was part of God's intent in making man in His own image, giving us a version of Himself that we could stand to look at, something we could begin to comprehend? I'm reminded of the story in the Old Testament when Moses is on the mountain and wants to see God and God basically tells him "if you saw me, you'd die". And so God hides Moses in a space in the rocks, and covers him as He walks by and even that barest brushing past is almost more than Moses can stand. Like staring right at the sun only so much worse.

I know that I am not God, I cannot manifest light of my own. But I can reflect it, on a clear night.


ceone said...


what a beautiful post. thank you for your thoughts, and your ability to put them into words!


Janice said...

I second that. I was really amazed by what you just wrote. Very beautiful. Thanks Claire!