Shining like Stars (28-09-20)
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 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labour in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16)
All of us, then, reflect the glory of the Lord with uncovered faces; and that same glory, coming from the Lord, who is the Spirit, transforms us into his likeness in an ever greater degree of glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
One of the perks of living out in the country is that you can get away from the light pollution of the towns and cities and see the glory of the stars in the night sky. Uppermost on my ‘must do’ list is to learn to recognise the different stars, planets and constellations and to discover how the sailors of old could navigate by their position in the sky.
St Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, uses the image of the stars, shining in the darkness of the night sky, as a metaphor for Christians, whose lives shine in the darkness of this world. In Paul’s eyes, the stars are not the latest sportsmen and women, nor the popular singers, actors or social media personalities. The light from these stars, like the light pollution of our day which obscures the night sky, will soon burn out and fade away. The stars that Paul refers to are the people who get on with life without grumbling or arguing, and who hold out the word of life, the Christian gospel, to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. To that end, we can all be stars.
The stars we see in the night sky are millions of light years away and their light will eventually fade. Individually they make little difference to our world, but together they reveal something of the glory of God. On our own, we also make a small but important difference to the world around us, but together as God’s church on earth, we can reveal the splendour and glory of God.
The image that Paul uses in his letter to the Corinthians is slightly different. In talking about reflected glory we have an image more akin to the moon than to the stars. The moon itself doesn’t shine with its own light, what it does do is reflect the light of the sun onto a world that is temporarily in darkness. With its reflected light, though, the moon appears to us brighter than any of the stars.
So, be encouraged, the light of Christ that is within you, shining alongside the light of your fellow Christians, is revealing something of the glory of God, and the reflected glory of the Son of God, shining in the darkness of this world, is transforming your life, and will transform the world around you.
Father God, give me the grace to go about my day without grumbling or arguing, that the light of the gospel might be revealed in my life and that your church together might shine with your glory as it holds forth the word of life.