The Moon is Round

Last December, I played in Knoxville, TN with Bebo Norman and Ed Cash. After we’d finished our musical commitment for the evening, well after midnight, Ed and i were sitting in the kitchen at Adella Thompson’s home. There was a large stone, about the size of a basketball, on the floor, in which were carved the words – ‘the moon is round.’ We asked Adella about it.

She had known a high school girl who, earlier that year, had died of cancer. The girl was a Christian who kept a journal. After her death, an entry, rather set off by itself, stood out. It said simply ‘the moon is round.’

No one knows for certain what it means.

The stone inspired this song.

Some reflections on the song

There was a full moon last week. Almost clear skies, broken up by gray cauliflower clouds, made for a glorious mixture of light and color. The moon was a warm, soft, bright, full circle of light that, through the night, made it possible to see almost the entire quarter mile from my porch to the chapel across the pasture. It was exactly what we expect of full moons. It was, in its bigness and beauty, very easy to admire.

 But that was a week ago. Since then, the perfect circle has shrunk by the night – evolving from egg, to football, to banana, and, perhaps by now, to a mere sickle-shaped sliver. (Photo copyright www.danheller.com)

Behind the night clouds of late, the moon has been at times a mere smudge of faint light. No contours, no definition, no focal point or center.

Moon - Photo  compliments of NASALast night, the sky was all clouds. No stars, no moon, no soft, warm light. Gunshots of lightning, the kind that makes children run for their parents’ rooms and sends outdoor dogs looking for cover, was the only light for part of the night.

And yet, on every night this past week, as I have watched the moon diminish and disappear, I have known at all times that (1) the moon is up there, and (2) the moon is round. At the darkest moment of stormy night, I always knew it was there.

God seems like the moon at times, one day being clearly seen and the next nowhere in sight. For every major character in scripture, including Jesus, there were times that God seemed covered in darkness.

There are periods in my life, probably yours too, where the Lord’s presence is warm, soft, bright, recognizable all around me. And yet, at other times, He, and His ways, can be indistinct, hidden, distant, even frightening.

Moon and Fair -Photo copyright www.danheller.comWhat do we hold onto at during hard times. For me, it’s always ‘the truth as it is in Jesus.’ It’s always and only the cross. Every trip there is reminder enough that (1) He is up there and (2) He is good.

This song begs the question, at least it’s meant to — what are you sure of? What do you believe to be absolutely true? What, if anything in this most uncertain world, can you be certain of? Is there anything? Really?

If I sign a letter or card with the phrase – the moon is round – I am simply asserting that I believe certain things to be true. When everything else shakes under the gunshot lightning of life’s storms, it is those things, I pray, that I’ll always be able to hold onto.

Lyrics

It is full, then it’s quarter, it’s fingernail, then gone

At times the clouds will hide it from my sight

The only thing that changes is my partial point of view

But I know the moon is up there every night

When the light cannot be seen, when the circle can’t be found

The moon is round, the moon is round, the moon is round

At times, it’s wrapped in shadows, dark and gray

On another it’s a halo shining bright

It wraps itself in swaddling clothes some days

And the next it’s in a gown of silver light

Just a tiny string of thread, then a bright and golden crown

The moon is round, the moon is round, the moon is round

BRIDGE

Like the ocean floor and the air I breathe, the moon is round

I will trust in things that I cannot see, the moon is round

I believe there is love watching over me, the moon is round

The moon is round…yeah

So I’ll write it down on paper, I just might carve it in a stone

To help me when my faith is losing hold

Something to remind me of the Truth that does not change

When the eclipse of the moment steals my gold

There’s a Light that is sweet and pure

There’s a Love that is strong and sure

The moon is round, the moon is round, the moon is round

Listen