“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,” Psalm 8:3
Long before there were films like The Right Stuff, Apollo 13, and Hidden Figures, I have been an amateur astronomer. My sister Gretchee would often wake my sister Lynn and me to watch a partial or full lunar eclipse. I also remember a couple of Summers where we made view boxes to track the progression of solar eclipses.
And then, one Christmas, I received a telescope. It wasn’t until I moved to Iowa that I discovered how beautiful the night sky is. While living in Cleveland and Memphis, I never realized how city lights washed out most of the stars. That was not true in Iowa City. I discovered that the night sky was dazzlingly full of stars, clusters, and a few planets. I followed the comet that impacted Jupiter in 1994 and often went to the NASA website to view pictures from the Hubble telescope.
Monday marked the first day that NASA was receiving images from its newest telescope, named after James Webb, the NASA administrator during the 1960s. Images from this newer eye in the sky are more vivid than the Hubble telescope. And though I constantly study the display of constellations throughout the year through my telescope and binoculars, I am still in awe of the latest images from the Webb telescope.
The words from Psalm 8:4 continues the reflections of the psalmist: “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” All of creation is precious to our Lord. The images we receive from the Hubble and Webb telescopes affirm how majestic and wonderful the universe is.
Seeing these images, like the psalmist, I wonder why God has done and does so much for us. The story of our relationship with our Lord is vast and deep and is as expansive as our universe. God continues to inspire us, encourage us, and love us in ways that transform who we are. As we consider how we can serve others and share the Good News of our Risen Savior, God calls us to journey with one another in new ways, as we witness and experience the trials which are also a part of our lives.
Like the stars and planets captured in the lens of the Webb and Hubble telescopes, the ways that we can carry on God’s Great Commission are too numerous to count. There is a light that shines in each of us and shines through us whenever we seek to be the instruments of God’s hope for the world. May we continue to shine like the stars in the heavens as we live out our journeys of faith, service, and love for our Creator and those God has created. And Amen.