The Breaking Dawn

Just recently, I took the opportunity to head out to a friends farm for an overnight photography session. The plan was to shoot the night sky and then catch the sun rise. I hit my swag at around 8pm and lay there looking up. I was reminded of a time when I worked in remote Western Australia. There were many times when we would drag our beds out onto the homestead lawn and sleep under the vast expanse of an Australian night sky. Not because it was fun, because the mozzies would try to carry you away in your sleep, but because it was too hot to sleep in the workers quarters. We didn’t have aircon… in fact we didn’t even have fans because the generator that supplied power was turned off at 8pm. On many an occasion, we would be forced to shelter under the verandah due to a passing thunderstorm. Sleeping under lightning is a whole different story.

So there I was, enjoying the stars and the half moon and long distant memories until I drifted into sleep. At 2:30am I was awake. The moon had set and it was a dark sky. The number of stars visible now was amazing. If you live in the city, you really must make the effort to head out to see the stars from time to time. It is a powerful reminder of your place in the universe. If you are a person of faith, it will fill your heart with wonder and praise at the awesomeness of the Creator.

The Milky Way rises in the night sky

I set up the cameras and began shooting. It takes a bit of time to get the settings and the focus right, but what the camera ‘sees’ it truely amazing. As time passes, the stars move across the sky. In reality, it is us who is moving, but it is easy to understand how our ancestors thought that the universe revolved around them. The idea that planet Earth is the centre of the universe is obviously not true when you look at the facts from a scientific perspective, but from a human perspective, it is totally understandable.

As dawn approaches, there is a noticeable change on the eastern horizon. A gradual hint of colour. A few less stars visible to the eye. There is also a growing sense of expectation and relief that the dark of the night is nearly over. Now I’m not scared of the dark or of things that go bump in the night, but there is a kind of internal sigh of relief when the light of day returns to the landscape. Dark shapes and distant silouettes begin to take form. Then the colour returns, dull hues at first but soon a soft pastel glow.

The night sky gives way to the first light of dawn

I love this time of transition. It happens so slowly that you hardly notice it… yet before you know it, it is light. The birds begin their morning routine, singing as they go. A distant bleating sheep reminds you that you are on a farm. The smell of dry grass made damp by the cool night air wafts on the breeze. And an almost overwhelming feeling of peace and tranquility settles over you as you watch the beginning of a new day. A day soon to be filled with the business of modern life. Work to be done. People to catch up with. Agendas to get through. Deadlines to meet. The transition from night sky to day light is like a slow fadePersonally, I could do this every morning, but at this stage in my life, it is not a reality. Not yet anyway.

 

Spirit And Truth

“Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” ~ Jesus

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In Deuteronomy 6:4, Moses sets down for the Israelites how they are to love their God: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

Because the idea of “might” in Hebrew indicates the totality of ones physical being, Jesus expanded this expression to include the idea of “mind” and “strength”. To worship God in spirit and truth must involve loving Him with heart, soul, mind and strength… all of who we are.

In essence, you can’t separate spirit and truth.

Spirit without truth leads to a shallow, emotionally driven experience. As soon as the experience is over, the worship ends.

On the other hand, truth without spirit can result in an empty, passionless encounter that that often takes the form of joyless legalism.

But when you combine the two, the result is a wondrous appreciation of God.

As we get to know God through the scriptures, we begin to get a picture of what God is like. The more we know about God, the more we appreciate Him. The more we appreciate Him, the deeper our worship. The deeper our worship, the more God is glorified.

Bringing glory to God is what worship is about… And that is what God is looking for.