Art, Poetry, Music, and Nature for the New Year
Tuesday, January 12 2021
The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Psalm 36:5
The full moon just two weeks ago was called the Cold Moon, no surprise, as it occured in late December when the cold weather predictably settled in. Now, tonight’s new moon will allow for the best stargazing, if you can escape the excessive light of the suburbs. As a small sliver of moon grows in the next few days, watch, too, for the moon’s smile: only in late winter does the moon appear this way.
While we do not live in a culture that is discernibly in tune with the lunar cycles, I wonder if maybe we should be or, rather, could be. In her book Learning to Walk in the Dark, Barbara Brown Taylor writes about her path toward a lunar spirituality, following the night sky wherever it leads. She says that in a lunar spirituality “the divine light available to me waxes and wanes with the season,” most notably because “when I go out to my porch at night, the moon never looks the same twice” and so, “all in all, the moon is a truer mirror for my soul than the sun that looks the same way every day.” In this way, the fleeting but poignant intensity of spiritual experience and its counterpart—God’s absence—can be experienced, not as troubling, but as a natural part of the life of faith, and can ultimately push us toward a more impenetrable faith. Following this lunar path, maybe we will find a deeper trust in God and in ourselves, because we trust that there is a lunar ebb and flow to our spiritual lives.
God of this new year, may the path we walk in 2021 be comfort and hope.