I've been thinking about stars a lot lately. I took astronomy in college and it was not at all what I expected. I imagined lots of late nights on the roof with a telescope. I was very wrong. I was shocked at how much math there is in astronomy and therefore - the allure of star gazing began to wane because of my poor math skills. I still like the stars - the idea of space and the vast unknown. Looking at the stars I am reminded of how very small our planet is in the midst of what we can see of our galaxy. I like to get lost in wondering about how the presence of God is bigger than I can possibly imagine.
Why am I rambling about stars? Because they are beautiful and offer light and guidance. Sailors have navigated the seas by understanding location in relation to the stars’ locations in the night sky. When I gaze at the stars, I see constellations and oodles of tiny pinpricks of heavenly light. In reality, these specks of light are further away - from our home, our sun and each other - than I can imagine. Light years are measured distances - the amount of distance light can travel in one year - about 5.88 trillion miles! Stars are light years apart and yet across these astronomical distances they offer light, hope, guidance, reminders and beauty. I'm rambling about stars again.
I bring this up because we, who are separate and distant and unconnected to our usual lifestyles and patterns of behavior, we have the opportunity to gaze at how the connections between us are still vital, still important, still offering hope and guidance and love to one another from the seemingly large (or at the very least 6 ft) distance between us. You may feel alone, or small, or insignificant where you are. I have heard that it is "normal" to go through feelings of depression and lowered self-esteem in the midst of isolation. Please, think of yourself as a star in a constellation.
Our congregation, our chosen church community, is a beautiful conglomeration of wildly different and precious individuals. You are a shining star in our pattern. You may feel alone and disconnected - but the love that keeps our community together surrounds you and flows through you. May the way we maintain safe distance help stem the tide of this Covid-19 virus; may we in our distance, embrace and uphold those who are sick, worried and "essential." May we shine with the love and light of Jesus Christ in the way we "pull together" to get through this time of isolation, together.