It’s been an exciting week. Fresh snow on the mountains yesterday.
A gigantic storm is on its way. I saw it coming last night. It'll be gusting over 100 mph in the Aleutians today. Some of that will hit our shores (stay tuned).
And, excitement on the domestic side, too: a break-in. Someone invaded my secret stash of expensive chocolate in my underwear drawer. It wasn’t hard to spot---- bits of foil and half-nibbled pieces of chocolate lay pooled in my bras. What a pathetic pilferage! Not even hiding the evidence! Like the good mother that I am, I immediately accused my youngest of the theft. When he vehemently denied it, I knew I had failed as a parent (To have raised such a falsifying child!) But----Truth always wins out. It was a mouse. A live mouse, as I discovered when it leapt from my dresser to floor to who-knows-where, (mouth likely full of my cocoa confections.) I wished him indigestion first, then outright death after. Yes, nothing less than death-by-chocolate. And to all his kind! (Especially to the one who started a home in my pajama drawer!)
Above us, the Northern Lights were gloriously alive this week in Kodiak. I never catch them here, though everyone else does. It’s some kind of curse. I’ve chased them everywhere. I’ve even hauled my sons out of bed on a school night to pilgrimage to the top of a mountain upon the mere whiff of the word “lights!” But there’s a rule in play: the harder I try to see them here, the more invisible they will be. Except for this week.
We had just finished Godspell rehearsal. The disciples (us) had just eaten the bread and passed the cup of his blood. Then Christ died, pinned to a rock wall. I cried. We rose to sing a dirge, lost in mourning. But in this Godspell, Jesus doesn’t stay dead. He appears at the end, in a balcony, spotlight on, arms out. Our mourning turns to dancing, literally. Rehearsal over, a friend peeks in and says, “The Northern Lights are out!”
Though it was late and we were all bushed, Micah, Allie and I jumped in our car and switchbacked to the top of Pillar Mountain. We opened our doors against the frigid night wind and there---two fireballs dropping from the sky! Two seconds of blazing glory! We stepped out, eyes wide and fixed on the sky, ready for whatever else might come. Screams next, and three more cast members ran from the dark to join us, huddling together in laughter and shivers against the wind. Overhead, six turbines, with arms outspread, whirled the winds and stars around us. . .
And there, finally, yes. The Lights. Not as brilliant and dramatic as further north, but a night sky as alive and breathing and shimmering as the God who made it all.
(And Here, if you'd like to see more, the glories of the Lights we’ve seen further north.)
How can this happen? In ten minutes, from mourning below a hanging Christ on a gym stage to the top of a mountain, jaw-dropped, blown away, lit by green rays and falling stars . . . How can the world hold such moments? How can our hearts contain this:
the God of the cosmos hung on a tree out of jealousy and hate;
the God of the cosmos pinned to a tree for his love for the despised;
Then, the God of the cosmos spinning his night sky, holding the planets in their orbits, the moons in their spheres, watering and lavishing us all with life and sun and warmth and rain. Loving us still. Loving even we who haul Jesus to our own crosses, killing him over and over.
And so we must keep hanging him there. Because he keeps rising. He keeps coming back to life, blazing across our lives with a shooting ray of love, with an arm of kindness, with a flash of conscience, with the dazzle of forgiveness that lights our own nights with a shimmer that lays us low, that lifts us mountain-high.
How can he still care for us murderers? How can he fill our black-night hearts still with such light?
I don’t know. I cannot fathom a God this good----but I know He is true. His love is real.
Would you do this, too? Go, stand outside tonight. Dare to stare high, to consider the stars, the moon, the galaxies. Bask in their brilliant light. Do you see?
God is lighting those candles every night,
to find your way
Are you there yet?