Weekly Thoughts & Themes


Star Gazer

For thousand of years people looked up to the sky for direction. Today we look down.
Centuries ago people looked up to the stars and planets and discovered consistent as much as inconsistent and inexplicable movement. It got us humans asking questions. We’ve learned a lot from the universe. It gave entree to science.
There once was a TV show called ‘Star Gazer.’ ‘Look up at the stars and learn about your universe’ said Jack Stargazer as the host called himself. ‘Star Gazer’ spawned curiosity anew about the stars. ‘Keep looking up’ Jack would say at the end of his show. Most did star gaze a little. Even more turned on their television sets as Jack Stargazer gave reality to the universe ‘out there’. He wanted us to look up but we insisted on looking down at our Television sets.
A century or so ago we became fixated on looking down. The Industrial revolution taught us a habit to look down at the daily newspaper at the kitchen table and on trains and buses during the commute.
The Information Age arrives and now almost everyone at every age looks down. Our addiction to smartphones and iPads requires our eyes to be fixated on screens. Whether sitting, walking, driving, talking it is as if we are deaf and blind to anything else about us.
These devices worship the present. Here. There. Everywhere is present tense on the screen. All at the touch of a finger! Future is only a momentary splash beyond the present in cyberspace. We anticipate the present. Not the future. Stargazing requires us to look up and imagine past, present and future. We are trained to look down and see the ‘now’. No stargazing allowed.
Christians are encouraged to Stargaze. We have this story about the magi following a star. Stars remind us that a distant past of millions of years is still speaking to us. The stars represent a distant yesterday about which we have no known association or known link. Yet they tempt us to ask about their source. “In the beginning…” there was something mysterious and we weren’t there. But somebody was.
The stars remind us that our future is but a “Dream” just beyond the present. “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” someone once said. Good point.  We humans have choice. We cannot make planetary paths but we can make choices to move in one direction or another. We can create future by our thinking.
Choice is the creative freedom that is both powerful and dangerous. We can make excellent and mediocre choices. Disastrous ones too. Our thinking leads to actions that create future.
We gaze at the stars and dream of our future. Where do we want to go? Why am I not there yet? What is stopping me? The universe may appear to limit human achievements and truncate our Dreams. It is so expansive and mysterious. But the universe does not prevent anything. Our Dreams are big yet not achievable because they are surrounded by a boundary line which is impermeable. It is called limiting belief.
We are all subject to limiting belief. Most will not even entertain the thought that they can achieve a Dream. But all dreams have potential to become real. Our belief systems hold us back and say it is not possible while the Dream pushes us forward and says it is possible. The Dream creates the pathway that blasts through limiting belief just as we see the star moving through an endless sky. But you must look up to see this. You cannot look down!
The stars tell us by their paths in the sky that we must look beyond ourselves and what we already know. To do otherwise imprisons us with limiting belief. The Christian story is like a journey to burst through limiting beliefs to locate and bathe in eternal truths. We may search from the back of camels or in the depths of our minds. But we must encounter an internal hunger to believe beyond self, to attain a perspective of life that integrates self, neighbor and the distant other. Fulfillment of life dreams requires a commitment to make the dream real, use the power of passion to build and create the good; harness affirming values of life and sideline the destructive use of anyone or anything! It all requires thought, action to make the dream real.
Star gazing teaches us to dream and dream big into the universe beyond the planets following the stars.  The stars have a path.  We just don’t know what it is. Keep looking and the path eventually is discovered. At its best human life is just like the stars. Our lives have a path and our path is very clear. Our path is filled with choices but we don’t know our path because of our limiting belief. That is why we need to look up and see beyond ourselves.
Does your Christian experience not help you find your path? Where did the church go wrong in your life? The most likely answer is that the boundaries close in when you leave the church behind, lose the hunger for the Dream and accept your limiting belief.
I like Jack Stargazer's admonition. “Keep looking up!”
- Pastor John