The Stars and a Purpose
For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated about space and space travel. As a child I watched reruns of My Favorite Martian, The Jetsons, and Lost in Space. Later I watched shows like Space 1990, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica. I have fond memories of being on a mountain in New Mexico and looking at the night sky through a telescope while at Boy Scout summer camp. I still enjoy trying to identify the constellations while looking up at the sky at night.
This week NASA honors the anniversary of the deployment of the Hubble Telescope 33 years ago. For 33 years the Hubble Telescope has provided extraordinary pictures of space beyond our planet while orbiting the Earth. The telescope has tracked objects as they traveled through our solar system, observed a comet crash into Jupiter, and even showed us the moons around Pluto.
In 1967, in the midst of an international race to space, hymn writer Catherine Cameron penned the words for the hymn “God, Who Stretched the Spangled Heavens,” which is #150 in the United Methodist Hymnal. Dr. Cameron’s words touch on the wonderment of the planets, stars and heavens and the “modern” achievements of space travel and atomic research. Dr. Cameron refers to us as “...children of creative purpose” who are called to honor God while serving others.
God has given each of us a creative purpose. Some can write; some can sing or make music; some can express themselves through art; some can perform research to discover new treatments for diseases. No matter what gift or talent you have, there are ways you can serve. Where can you serve? Choir? Praise Band? Handbells? Teach? Usher? Vacation Bible School? Whatever your interest, the church has a place you can serve.
Edwin Hubble used his gifts in physics, mathematics and astronomy to observe the heavens and discover galaxies beyond our own. I imagine he would be thrilled and humbled to know that NASA named a telescope in his honor. Perhaps, he would be more thrilled to know that his gifts continue to help others learn more about God’s “spangled heavens.” In Psalm 8:3-4, the psalmist writes “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are humans that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” We may not know exactly why God put humans on the third planet from a big flaming ball of gas in an ever-expanding universe, but we do know that God has given each human a purpose. Next time you look up at the stars, ponder how you can share your gifts and express your creative purpose.