Last night I was walking our dog, Lady, around the block for her evening “potty break.” Whenever I do this in the evening, I try to look up and gaze at the heavens. In Waco we are fortunate to see a fairly good number of stars in the night sky. So I saw Orion making his way to horizon, not to appear again until autumn as he and Scorpio continue their endless chase through the heavens. The Big Dipper and the Little Dipper were there, pointing the way north.
But then I noticed something peculiar about one star, Arcturus. (If you continue the arc of the Big Dipper’s handle through the sky, you will see Arcturus. “Arc to Arcturus.” It’s very bright, you can’t miss it.) Never before, in all the hundreds of times I’ve looked at Arcturus did I notice how it pulsates. If you look carefully, you can perceive it twinkling through a small spectrum of reds and yellows.
Psalm 123 begins, “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens!” Now I don’t think that God really lives in outer space, but I do think that God’s presence is among the stars of the night sky just as he is present in the Eucharist. Because in both of these – the heavens above and the bread and wine set before us – there is life. Looking at it theologically, through the lens of the Psalms, Arcturus’ pulsating is visual worship and praise of the Lord who created it. The stars are beautiful, and in their beauty, they give glory to their Lord Creator.
Arcturus is a star, a great nuclear reactor in the sky that gives light and warmth. But it’s more than that – it’s a beautiful beating heart that gives glory to its maker and redeemer.