Like stars in the universe
so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe (Php 2:15 NIV)
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. (Ps 19:1)
The stars are a frequent motif in the scriptures for the people of God. The promise to Abraham was that his offspring would be like the stars in the night sky. When Joseph had his dreams, one of the representation of his brothers, the sons of Israel, was as eleven stars. In one of Daniel's visions, the trampling of the stars underfoot, was interpreted as the persecution of the saints, and in his final chapter he prophesies that the righteous in the resurrection will shine like the stars forever and ever.
It's quite an awesome thought, when you look up at the night sky, that what you are seeing is not just a demonstration of God's heavenly glory, but a representation of his earthly people. There's quite a neat symmetry too, that God places in the heavens a representation of his church on the earth, and in his church on the earth he places a demonstration of his heavenly glory. The church is both a heavenly reality of the order, rule and glory of God, and an earthly reality made up of real flesh and blood men and women. It belongs to both heaven and earth, and has a mission and a mandate to see the will of heaven come down to earth.
Once you make the connection between the stars and the people of God there is much that can be drawn out from the scriptures that is very relevant to the nature of the church and her calling. I will share some of my own musings on the subject in some following posts.