A Bible Reading: Genesis 1. 1 – 8, 10b
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day. And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day… And God saw that it was good.
A Thought Since Covid, we have all been much more aware of the natural world around us, and of course at this time of year we are also enjoying long days and light nights. Over the past few weeks, my attention has been drawn to the sky in particular.
One evening when we were down in Cornwall, caravanning near Padstow, there was an amazing ‘red sky at night, shepherd’s delight’. It was around ten at night and the whole sky was aglow with vivid colour – reds, pinks, purples, oranges and yellows in a glorious display of natural splendour. It was awesomely spectacular. All I could do was stand and marvel. I gather it could be seen all over the UK. Once it got dark, the clear skies were then filled with an equally wonderful display of moon and stars, unimpeded by artificial light pollution. Another evening, we watched a beautiful sunset at Bedruthan Steps. There wasn’t a single cloud on the horizon to impede progress, and, as we watched, the sun stretched out a sparkling path across the sea towards us before it slid gracefully out of sight. It was so very good, that there were quite a few others watching from the cliffs, including a professional photographer!
This week I have driven to Norfolk to child-mind our twin granddaughters for a few days. The drive over on Sunday was also spectacular for very different reasons. Norfolk is often known as ‘the land of the big sky’. Because the land is so flat, the sky appears much more dominant and expansive. On Sunday, there were isolated thunderstorms about, and although I was driving in bright sunshine, I could see dark rain clouds at times, clearly offloading a substantial thundery downpour somewhere. When I returned yesterday, there were equally spectacular cloud formations in long ripples of greys and purples gilded with sunlit edges, reminding me that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’. It is these kinds of skies that the artist, John Constable, captures so well in his paintings like ‘The Haywain’. It is said, he spent many hours studying the sky, the cloud formations and the changes in light.
If we only have time to notice, to stop for a moment and watch, we can learn to appreciate creation through God’s eyes. When God created sky, he saw that it was good. On day four of creation, God added the sun, the moon, the stars and presumably clouds and the potential for different kinds of weather, and it was also good. I encourage you to stop and look at the sky at different points during the day. Reflect afresh on God’s creation. It is good, very good!
A Prayer Creator God, you have placed us in an amazing universe, which displays your handiwork and your awesome majesty day by day. Help us to appreciate afresh all that you have made, giving you thanks and praise. Amen.
From the highest of heights (Indescribable) by Chris Tomlin