A few weeks ago, like many of us, I was mesmerized by the incredible photos NASA released. These stunning photos were of images taken by the Webb Telescope. What completely caught me by surprise was how deeply spiritual this experience was. Every time I closed my eyes one of the images danced across my vision and over that weekend, I spent quite a bit of time immersed in the immensity of the presence of God they opened me to. Reflecting on those images resulted in a new spiritual practice for me that I wanted to share with you.
I looked through the photos, examining each one carefully before I closed my eyes and sat quietly for a few minutes absorbing the images I had seen.. Then I opened my eyes and examined each photo again.
I breathed in and out aware of the presence of God in me, around me and extending out into this incredible universe.
I breathe in the immensity of this great expanse, galaxies that appear no larger than pinpricks of light. Landscapes of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars rivet my attention. This is where stars are born. I almost forget to breathe. How much more immense and inspiring is the God who created them.
I breathe in the beauty and majesty of colours and shapes and I breathe out, imagining how much more beautiful and majestic is the God who created all this.
I breathe in again and remember that I am no more than a tiny speck in God’s vision. I am humbled by my insignificance, but as I sit quietly with my eyes on these remarkable images I am aware of the embrace of divine love.
I breathe in once more and run a cup of sand through my fingers aware that I am no more than one grain of sand in that cup. Insignificant yet deeply loved. I savour the wonder and immensity of this love. It fills not just me but every organism of this vast creation. Each grain of sand, insignificant but beautiful, an important part of a greater beauty of God’s creating. I think of the many uses of sand – millions of grain to form a sweeping beach of great beauty, protecting vulnerable coastlines from destruction, sculpted into beautiful designs, used in building materials, and in our gardens to create richer soil.
I read through this blessing by Jeff Chu:
May the magnitude of the universe
summon in us an appropriate smallness.
May the majesty of distant galaxies stir in us true humility.
May the light of faraway constellations remind us of the holy fire within
May you remember that the same wild creativity
that kindled the stars also etched beauty in your body.
May our awe yield hope.
May our gratitude inspire grace.
May our wonder stir love.
Now I take a few more deep breaths in and out and close my eyes. These photos incredible as they are, are but a small glimpse into the wonder of our God. I sit in awe of that wonder. It surrounds me, and fills every fibre of my being.
Breath of life,
Breath of love,
Breath of my body.
Each breath a wondrous spark of life,
Filling me with the glory of your light.
Photo credits: NASA ESA, CSA and STScl