Shooting Star

Having locked up the chapel after an evening Bible Study last month, I looked up at just the right moment. For perhaps 3-4 seconds, I beheld a shooting star. It moved across the heavens quickly before disappearing. Only the night before, I was meditating upon not having seen one in years; providence saw fit to put that right.

Despite its name, it was not a star but a meteor. This is a rock flying through space which clashes with the earth’s atmosphere. This contact at so great a speed creates friction which sets it alight, and gases are released which ignite behind it. Although some objects make it through and can be located and collected, most combust into nothing. What I saw was most likely a former resident of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Although sightings are considered unusual if not rare, meteoric incursions into the earth’s atmosphere happen all the time -  the University of Oregon estimating 25 million every 24-hour period. During daylight, we cannot see them and many are so small that even during the night their combustion creates little visible impact. In addition, humans’ light pollution renders many more unobservable.

Meteors are beautiful to see, demonstrating the night sky’s majesty, and the greater majesty of He who made it. They also reveal the Creator’s careful planning, that these powerful rocks in space should rarely enter our vicinity, the planet’s air absorbing and neutralising their potential danger. Meteors may also be an explanation for such strange passages as Revelation 6:13 (Geneva Bible):

And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, as a fig-tree casteth her green figs, when it is shaken of a mighty wind.

Increased meteor activity with all its inherant danger and dramatic appearance may well herald the Lord’s return. Until then, let us enjoy those few occasions when they show themselves, and give glory to Him who made them, and whose return they may portend.

Image by Nicolas Quintana from Pixabay