Written in the stars?
St Luke wrote about Ascension Day in the Book of Acts in the Bible: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus who has been taken from you into Heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven.”
It was on April 23 that I wrote this article, Shakespeare’s Birthday, and a character from one of his plays, Julius Caesar, provides a clue as to how we can better understand his words ‘looking into the sky’.
Julius Caesar himself says ‘The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars but in ourselves’.
The Bible quotation is a cry not to seek some form of spiritual knowledge by scanning the heavens, or indeed the horoscope, but rather to press on practically and in prayer with matters which affect all of us on this planet.
Life’s big issues will not become more manageable by imagining a magician’s wand will sweep away all that is awkward, difficult, wrong. The God about whom we read in the Bible is one who operates through history, circumstances and individuals like you and me to help to change lives, to help one cope and to give us hope, for today and tomorrow.
The everyday worries and concerns which are part and parcel of life are to be faced by squaring up to the faults/sins/glitches which so often are of our own making and admitting that on our own, we fail but with us on our daily round is One who has taken our humanity upon Himself, suffered and died and been raised to life...and there lies the key to the mystery of suffering.
No amount of star-gazing will change our human lot but rather an admission that we are loved by One who made the Heavens and the Earth, One who saved us from ourselves, One whose grace enables us to await His glorious return.
Until that time, there is much to do with acts of kindness, with love of family and friends, with care of the most vulnerable and needy and by realising that in John Betjeman’s words ‘the Maker of the Stars and Sea became on Earth a Child for me’.