On July 12, 2022 we got to witness the first ever color scientific images and spectra from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The image (above) reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth. It shows landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars from a nearby star-forming region called NGC 3325 in the Carina Nebula (NASA news, July 12, 2022).
I am not an avid star watcher, although I have used the app on my phone to do some star-gazing. It is amazing what technology can find and discover these days. Back in the days of the Bible stars were used for navigation. The movements and patterns of the stars showed direction. When people travelled they studied and watched the stars carefully to find their way.
In our reading today, Philippians 2, Paul tells the Philippians to “shine like stars.”
Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky
The phrase “shine like stars” is more accurately translated as “appearing as luminaries.” Paul wanted the Philippians to be luminaries or light-bearers in the world and be a witness for Jesus Christ.
If Paul thought the world of his time was “crooked and twisted”, how much more is our world “crooked and twisted” today? Every time I turn on the news I am reminded just how dark our world is. The light of Christ can shine brightly through us to all the world.
We can be a light by obeying the words of Paul, “do everything without grumbling or arguing.” It is so easy to find something to complain or argue about these days, but God asks us to simply not do it. This is such a good reminder as I catch myself complaining about how hot it is today.
If we know Jesus, we are called to live differently than worldly people around us. We are called to be a light to those around us. Do people around you notice something different in us through our actions? Our light can lead other people to Jesus.
The James Webb telescope is so powerful it can see stars that have never been seen before. God calls us to “shine like stars” in the midst of the dark world we live in.