Thursday and Friday nights had been earmarked as opportunities to see the northern lights. Some kind of unusual activity on the surface of the sun had erupted and sent a wave of energy to Earth. They promised interesting things happening to satellites and also a glimpse of the northern lights. They also promised vast amounts of cloud so the chances of seeing anything were always going to be rare.
It had been a sunny day on Thursday and I didn’t see why the evening should not remain cloudless, but as the hours ticked by, the cloud cover increased. Friday was a cloudy day, but I’d had a bit of a challenging day and thought God might be good to me by blowing away the clouds to make up for it, and I would see them at last. I even trailed out to Culloden Battlefield where the observatory is, thinking I’d join the sky watchers. They didn’t have my faith that God was going to blow the clouds away and stayed at home.
I went and stood, but did not see
The northern lights shine down on me
Too many clouds got in the way
Sadly nothing on display.
I’d done some homework. I read up on anything I could find about the northern lights. One website informed me that red and green lights meant there were oxygen particles up there and that blue and purple lights meant there were nitrogen particles. I also noticed that the pictures used to illustrate pages of UK sightings of the northern lights most often came from Sweden or Norway or Iceland or Canada. We didn’t seem to possess UK pictures!
BBC site had this to say about it all – “The phenomenon is caused by charged gas particles that flow away from the Sun as a "solar wind" interacting with the Earth's magnetic field. The particles "excite" gases in the atmosphere and then make them glow.”
I think it is the use of the word “excite” that captured my imagination. A woman on BBC Breakfast was talking about the northern lights and used the same terminology. She probably wrote the website content. She waved her arms around in circles to demonstrate to “exciting” part – so I am none the wiser about just how these particles are excited.
So often what happens in the natural has a correlating truth in the spiritual. I thought about the activity of the Son, as opposed to the sun. When Jesus is active and making connections with people, there is an excitement that happens and something begins to glow – faith perhaps.
God wants to interact with us. He wants to excite us. He wants to see us glow.