An Early Evening of Planets

20100214-evening-of-planetsHow Much Do We Want Something?
There is a striking parable in Matthew 13:44-46 about finding the kingdom of heaven. There was a treasure hidden in field. A man went to find it, which took effort and determination. Having found the treasure, he hides it, and sells everything he has to buy the field so the treasure will be his. A parallel parable follows about finding a great pearl. Having found it, a merchant sells everything in order to buy it. Both pose the same question to the hearers and readers: what are you willing to do to obtain the kingdom of God?

I ran out the door to try to see Jupiter and Venus just after sunset on February 14, 2010 but also to try to observe the new moon, which would be a very faint crescent. I had less than 20 minutes to find a location with a clear Western sky. I went to a nearby winery and asked permission to observe on a hill top. Low haze prevented me from seeing the crescent, but I saw Jupiter and Venus just before they set. I ran home to set up a scope to see Mars. After an hour, which permits the telescope optics to temperature stabilize, I quickly found and sketched Mars before I had to do other things. All the while I was pondering the fleeting opportunity that I had to observe this early evening. It provided an example of the principle shown in the parables about finding the kingdom of God. You see, we have to be willing to change our schedule and take immediate steps when we know we have an opportunity regarding matters of the soul. You have to be willing to drop everything that seems more important. Jesus knew this, and wanted to make sure we know it, lest we not make the effort to come to Him when we have it.

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