I’ve said many times I’m a fan of looking at the stars in the night sky. I took an astronomy class in college, but my knowledge of the planets and stars is still limited. I go and look not because I’m an expert on what I’m seeing; I look at the stars because it grows wonder within me. My front porch gives a clear view of the Big Dipper, and if I step away from the house, I can find the North Star too. I’m learning about the stars in the Big Dipper. The one at the end, at the pouring tip of the dipper, is called Alpha Ursae Majoris, or Dubhe, and it’s approximately 123 light-years away. One hundred twenty-three years ago was 1897, and it’s humbling to think that light I see from the star is from the time when William McKinley was President.

I learned, in 1897, that the Bubonic Plague was spreading. It took a few years before it reached the United States, but in 1897 it was growing in India and other parts of Asia. I look at that star in the Big Dipper, and I know the world was not so different when that light started its journey than it is now. That’s not to say the problems we are facing now are not significant. I know, though, we’re not the first to have to deal with a global pandemic. Our challenges are substantial and will require the best of all of us to overcome, but I know too, when I see that star, that our problems are part of a much bigger story.

I’ve quoted many times 1 Corinthians 13:4, which says, “Love is patient.” When Paul tries to describe all the things that love is, the first thing he says is that it is patient. As much as we’d all like to proclaim that the pandemic is over, and we can go back to our normal living, the reality is different. We’re going to keep having to try to do the right things to contain sickness, and we’re going to have to make sure our leaders do the right things, too. It’s going to take a while, but the patience of love requires it. When I feel impatient, I look at the star at the end of the Big Dipper and think if that light had the patience of 123 years to get to me, then I can be patient too.

Grace & peace,

Jason Jones