By Not Known

Lunar calendars have been used in the past and are now still used. For some, a lunar calendar is merely a different way of measuring time. For others, a lunar calendar has deeper significance. This is found in pre- Christian Celtic religion, in some traditional societies and in some forms of contemporary paganism. This sometimes has a very dark side, with the moon’s shadows contrasted with the sun’s brightness and the moon’s hours seen as the time when evil reigns. We catch a glimpse of this in Ps 121: the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night (v6). The sun’s harm is through heat, but the moon’s harm is that of spiritual evil. The old word ‘lunatic’ (for a person with a mental illness) also reflects the idea of the moon as a source of dark forces.

For others again, the motion of the heavenly bodies is seen to rule affairs on earth. Hence the fortune tellers who consult almanacs based on planetary positions at our birth or people who rely on the zodiac-based horoscopes for day-to-day predictions. It’s a fun exercise to compare several horoscopes for ourselves on the same day and laugh at the ‘gaps’. I did that when writing this minister’s message and wait for the various and contradictory predictions to be fulfilled.

The Christian Scriptures point us in elsewhere. Our individual lives and the world’s history are not ruled by bad lunar forces or by the mechanical motions of heavenly bodies. The heavenly bodies do not make history, but were made in history by the creator-God (Gen 2:14-19). This creator-God is also the Lord- God who moves all things according to his purposes (Eph 1:11). John Calvin summarises these Bible truths in his quip that it is not the stars that rule, but God who made them.

God’s world is not planetary and mechanical. Instead it is personal and relational, just like the Lord himself. As Paul reminds us, God’s fullness is seen in the person of God’s Son, Jesus Christ (Col 2:9). He is the person where all wisdom and knowledge is found (Col 2:3). Not only that, but he is the personal reality against which all human religious traditions are but fleeting shadows (Col 2:17). He is the power of God for life and the one in whom the body of God’s people grows (Col 2:11-12,19).

Let us therefore not submit to the rule of the moon, the stars or other planetary bodies. Nor let us be fearful of their influence as determinative of our fate and thus approach the new lunar year with uncertainty. Let us instead leave the lunar shadow for the Son-light of Jesus. Our help is above the hills, sun, moon and stars – it is in the Lord who is the maker of heaven and earth (Ps 121:2).

David Burke