One of my favorite things to do is to look through local bookstores and see what’s there. A few weeks back I found a book called “The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.” The author is Paul Bogard. In his book, he writes about how, in many places now, we are no longer able to see more than just a few stars at night. He goes off in search of “dark sky” places and he finds them in different places such as a park in Quebec, on an island off the coast of England, and in Death Valley, California, where he describes what it’s like to go hiking there at night, to look up, and to see thick
clusters of stars all through the night sky.
The book is a sort of lament for a gradual loss of natural darkness and a call to preserve the darkness that already exists in places by more subtle or less use of lighting. I can remember, maybe thirty years ago, going at night to Great East Lake in New Hampshire not far from the Maine border. There was a certain thrill to being there in deep darkness, unable to see anything beyond what was a few inches away, hearing only insects, looking up at the dark sky and seeing stars, feeling the depth and texture of the night sky. One of the most important parts of our spiritual lives is the sense of wonder and awe at the beauty of the world around us.
Sometimes on a weekend night I like to walk around the campus here and one of the most beautiful spots is the columbarium area, with its landscaping lit from below. It feels like a quiet and contemplative place. It was dedicated in 1996 along with our church building. Sometimes, day or night, I’ll see one or two people or a family come up to one of the niches and hold a hand up to it or gather around it. It’s a place for them to remember the person who has died. We have the ashes of nearly 400 people interred in niches in our columbarium. Our church architecture holds reminders of who we are in the Christian life: baptized in the water at the font into the life of Christ, gathered at the table of the Lord for Eucharist, and waiting in hope for life everlasting with God.
If you have been considering pre-purchasing a niche in our columbarium, please be aware that a price increase will take effect on January 15, 2016. For more information, contact our parish office. Finally, this Sunday is our annual Harvest Moon Festival in support of our preschool. It runs from 12:30 to 2:30pm in Clare Fellowship Hall. All are invited.
Blessings on your week!