I'm a girl who loves to worship in the dark. A candlelit sanctuary or a night under the stars - that's where I can't help but be in awe of our universe and the God who created it.
Last week at VBS, we turned down the lights on Thursday night and sang a song of worship in this vast, dark room by the light of a few glowsticks and the little haze coming out of the ceiling lights. Looked just like stars. And before I knew it, I was raising a hand.
Earlier this week, of course, there was another chance for that: fireworks. Now, I actually fell asleep five minutes before they started here in my little town (lousy daylight savings), but the dogs woke me up just before the finale. I jumped out of bed, ran into the kitchen, and looked out just in time to see....one firework. One. An ooh, but no ahh. Then I laughed.
Because that thing hit my heart as the sound hit my ears. Just one of those awesome off-white explosions that trails into little streaks of light falling back toward the ground with that earth-rattling boom just a few seconds delayed by the distance. I just laughed. Somehow, I knew my God was speaking to me.
I'm just amazed, I guess, by what He does in the darkness and the way the night sky shows His glory like the daytime cannot. That He can bring light where we aren't seeing any. From a light that shines far away to a million little bodies that can only reflect it. The seeming peace and stillness, but there is this backdrop of the noises of life. (Mostly bugs, critters.)
In the darkness, He rumbles through our world and it carries - His presence, His voice - it carries over distance and you sort of understand where it's coming from but it's so visceral (your body feels it so strongly) that you don't even want to sort it out any more. Then you throw in a flash of light with that - from a firework or from a bolt of lightning - and I just want to cry out - How much more incredible could you be, God? This is You!
It is extravagance. It is the completely unnecessary but beautiful work of bringing things onto a backdrop that seems incongruous. Here is everything, still and at rest, circling into its cycle of night for a much-needed bit...and then here is God pouring so much wonder and beauty back out into it. He just makes me smile.
We see things differently against the darkness than we see them in the light. That's the nature of Creation. It opens us up to adventure - passageways that maybe wouldn't be interesting if we saw them in the light, but the pure mystery entices us. It opens us up to excitement - new discoveries to be made. It opens us up to imagination - whoever walked under a crooked old tree in the daylight and mistook it for the shadowy fingers of a forest creature? (No one. Ever. That's who.) It opens us up to a new splendor of God.
Then He tops it all off with a beautiful light show. In the simple twinkling of the stars. Various phases of the moon. A flash of lightning and the grace of rain. Or even in the fireworks - extravagance in themselves (for how else could you describe an item we created exclusively for blowing up/wasting) - in the colors and the grandeur and the little streaks of wispy light that fall back toward our humble town. With a little Boom-BOOM to go with it, a sound that carries in the darkness in a way I'm not even sure it carries int he light...and you can't help but smile, laugh a little, and raise a hand to our God.
BOOM. BOOM. How...can anything compare to the glory of God in the darkness?