Yours is the day, Yours also is the night.
The day has already been long. This morning, we walked up the 2000 meter mountain just behind our school, stopping only for a swim on the 30°+ C day before ascending to “the next summit.” It was a narrow strip of grass underneath a wooden cross, standing out like a spoon in a green bowl. At 3:00 PM, we began to run down the mountain, returning to school just in time for our 4:00 PM staff meeting.
I’m tired now, well past bedtime. Half an hour ago, we woke up our students from where they were sleeping in tents in the yard. We gathered in the darkened lecture hall to hear about Austrian Bible smugglers who brought Scripture over the mountains during the counter-reformation. Then we sent them on their way, up the river and back through field and forest, high above the town.
As they walk, I’m waiting on the path with another instructor, stationed to read verses from Romans and point the way back to school. It’s a moonless night, and the stars above Central Austria are stunning, mostly unfamiliar. I learn German names for constellations, squint to imagine the creatures they outline in pinpricks of light. After a while we’re silent, and I’m only just aware of the hard ground, mesmerized by layer upon layer of stars usually hidden by city lights.
I’ve grown up in places like this, falling asleep under ceilings of stars before nearsightedness and streetlights ruined the fun. And what surprises me–even more so in the wilderness but also here among people–is the deep, far-reaching beauty splashed out on the world. In the darkness I am stunned by the overwhelming extravagance of glory around me, breathless to imagine the God who spent so lavishly to show it to us. It’s surprising, beautiful and well worth staying awake longer than usual.