My family and I recently went to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I had never been, so it was an exciting experience for me. Years ago, I had visited the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, but I had always wanted to visit Kennedy.
The exhibits were amazing. They have an indoor “Early Space Exploration” exhibit where they have artifacts and information about the US-Soviet “space race.” Outside, they have the “Rocket Garden,” which is a collection of US rockets and space capsules displayed vertically, as if they were ready to launch at any moment. They also have a bus tour which takes you out to the launch pads and assorted buildings, including an Apollo program exhibit with a real Saturn V rocket and Apollo capsule displayed horizontally (it’s huge!). At the end of the tour, we visited the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit where they have the actual Atlantis shuttle displayed inside.
All these rockets and capsules and shuttles look huge when you’re next to them. But, then when you look at some of the pictures of space, they look small in comparison. Next to the vastness of space, anything we make is tiny.
In addition, if you look at the picture of the earth which was taken by the Apollo astronauts while on their journey to the moon, the earth itself looks tiny and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Neil Armstrong himself said, “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small” (http://www.spacequotations.com/earth.html ).
This struck me as a couple weeks later we read Psalm 8 in church, and I realized that the psalmist had the same feeling when he contemplated everything that God had made. He looked up at the night sky and said to God, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).
This is a very common feeling. I’ve felt it when looking at the night sky, the astronauts have felt it, and the psalmist felt it. We think, “Look at all that stuff out there, I feel so small.” It can give us the feeling that we’re not important, that there’s much greater things out there, that God couldn’t possibly care for us little beings.
Yet, the witness of the Scriptures is that God does care for us. In fact, Psalm 8 continues, “Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet…” (Psalm 8:5).
Indeed, God cares for us little beings so much that He sent His Son to redeem us from the sin and death in this world and to make us His children. Jesus Christ, Son of God, came to die on the cross for our sins and then rose from death to defeat death.
In addition, God cares for us so much that Christ commissioned his Church to spread this Gospel to all people so that all people may be saved. After his resurrection, he told his disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
Indeed, Jesus is with us always. Even when we look up at the stars and wonder at their size and our seemingly small stature, we are reminded by Jesus that he loves us and that he is always with us. God is with us through Jesus Christ, today, always, and forever. Amen.
(Image by NASA Apollo (Great Images in NASA Description) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AEarth_from_Apollo_8_-_GPN-2000-001489.jpg )