When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
  the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
  mortals that you care for them?
-Psalm 8: 2-3When I was in Kindergarten, we drove from our home in Ft. Worth to my Aunt’s house in Dallas so we could watch the first man walk on the moon. As a kid in junior high, one of my favorite parts of summer camp was gazing at the star-filled sky on the road between the closing campfire back to our cabin. And I remember the devastation I felt when the Challenger Space Shuttle blew up as it returned home to planet earth.

So last week’s images from the Webb telescope, showing us previously invisible parts of our cosmos, were mind boggling as well as stunningly gorgeous. With the breakthrough, scientists are better able to study the how, why and when of the galaxies and stars, unlocking the mysteries of our universe that began 13.8 billion years ago. What a miracle that they can now see a planet 1,150 years away from us. The Carina Nebula reveals hundreds of never seen before stars.

I am grateful for the work of Ilia Delio, a scientist and a theologian, who has written that to separate theology from science is to destroy the genetic code. In her mind the universe is the next monastery, a place to find God. As Christians we can embrace the fullness of what we see in the Webb’s slide show. In her book, The Hours of the Universe, Delio writes that the 4.2 billion years of life on this 13.8 billion-year-old cosmos testifies of a resilience. “This resilience bears witness to the hope that life will win the race.”  So I find myself as awed as I was in kindergarten by this recent news. And I feel as small and humbled and yet as fully embraced as I did on those starry nights at camp.

Or as one of the key scientists working on the Webb telescope, Dr. Amber Stragh said, “We humans are connected to the universe. We are made out of the same stuff in this landscape.” You and I are stardust!

Grace and Peace,