Without stars, astrophysicists tell us, there would be no life. It appears that all the elements of the human body - hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and iron - either originated from the Big Bang or were subsequently forged by exploding stars.
According to Myles Gordon, vice president for education for the new Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York, "It's the most powerful idea I've ever seen, that we are star stuff" (The New York Times, March 7).
It is a galactic-size idea, as poetic as it is profound. That there's any explicit connection between humankind and the stars - well, it's cause to simply delight in the wonder of it all.
As transcendent as the concept is in its own right, I couldn't help transposing it to a more figurative level. I thought how incredible it is that at the very heart of existence is the idea that we are like stars. We're radiant and noble beings - made of the very essence of the universe.
And this brought me around to thinking about the nature of life that the world's great scriptures describe. You could think of them as science books of a different sort. They focus on the spiritual aspect - that is, on things that are ideal and that don't deteriorate, harm, or vanish, such as truth and compassion. They assure us that the universe is ordered and safe; that it's thoughtfully created and maintained by an all-powerful and reliable divine Principle - a supremely good Principle, which can be termed God.
Contrary to what the five senses tell us, what squares with divine Principle is that our substance isn't really flesh and bones. True substance is spiritual. We're formed of dazzlingly beautiful divine qualities. God is the source of these qualities, i.e., the source of our life. "The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life," is how one writer in the Bible expressed it several millennia ago (Job 33:4).
In other words, we're made of "God stuff"! You and I, the precious representatives of Spirit, are individual expressions of vigor, intelligence, gentleness, integrity, and creativity. We are the expression of divine Life. Life is the underlying Principle of the universe.
So you might say that without God, there would be no stars. Stars represent Spirit, as we do. Stars are made of God stuff, too. To me, they represent spiritual power, divine illumination and guidance, infinity, idealism, and ever-radiating love.
The really good news is that these aren't abstract, pie-in-the-sky notions. They're ideas that influence life in real and practical ways. They're transforming mine in big ways and small. For example, a while back my career hit a low point. Opportunities were scarce. Doors were closed. Disappointment at having blown a couple of big opportunities combined with financial fears painted a depressing picture. But deep down, I intuitively felt that infinite Life, the source of all opportunity, action, growth, and development, would provide good ways for me to continue to express my talents. Like stars that keep on shining, I would keep on expressing Life productively, even radiantly. I knew instinctively that I was just as important in the universe as galaxies and stars.
Well, it didn't happen overnight. But sure enough, as I kept trusting the all-good Principle, I was able to keep above fear. Good opportunities opened up in unexpected ways, and they continue to do so.
Everyone wants to shine - to glow starlight-bright with significance, honor, happiness, and health. It's a natural feeling, because we're more than mortal descendants of physical stars. We are the immortal reflection of divine light. This means that we can trust God to supply all the courage, strength, ability, and help we need to accomplish excellent things.
God expresses in man the infinite idea forever developing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis.
Mary Baker Eddy
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society