He brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” —Genesis 15:5
After college, my best friend Lisa and I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. I moved to Oregon for my placement while she moved to Montana. On our last night together at our orientation, we camped outside and watched a meteor shower before falling asleep. About two weeks later, I was with my new community-mates laying on a blanket on a hilltop and talking while we watched the stars come out,and the moon rise. I was feeling a bit homesick and missing my college friends when it occurred to me that Lisa could see the same moon and stars from the Indian reservation where she was living and working. Then it occurred to me that Jesus and his disciples would have slept under the same stars many nights as they traveled between towns—and they would have seen the same moon that I was seeing. Going back even further, Abraham looked up and saw those same pinpricks of light when he heard God’s promise.
Today’s readings are full of reminders of how God speaks to us through nature: the sky, stars, and fire (from Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18), and a mountaintop, bright light, and clouds in the Gospel (Luke 9:28b-36). God is so much bigger than the interior of our churches or the corner of a room where we might pray. Let’s remember to go outside, look around and look up to see what message God might have for us.
For Action: Commit this week to spend some intentional time outside, quietly soaking in the wonders of creation. If you can, look up at the stars and remember Jesus and Abraham looking at them too.
To Pray: Creator of the universe, teach me to look to the marvels of your creation for signs of your greatness and power.