We live on a visited planet!
Recently I saw an impressive picture of Saturn including planet earth as a tiny blue spot in an endless black space. The picture was released by NASA in November of this year and taken by its Cassini-Huygens spacecraft that is in service since 1997 and moves in an orbit around the ringed giant since 2004.
“NASA has given the people of Earth a rare treat: A colour mosaic that captures not only Saturn, but also the tiny dots of Earth and other planets in the background. The panorama was captured by the Cassini spacecraft on July 19, when the sun slipped behind the ringed planet. Earth appears as a bright blue dot to Saturn’s lower right, just above Saturn’s outer, halo-like E-ring. Venus is a dot to the upper left, with Mars appearing as a faint red dot above and to the left of Venus. This is the first image in which Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars are all visible. The image — a panorama of 141 wide-angle pictures — covers 404,880 miles across Saturn and its ring system. Cassini images showing both Saturn and Earth are rare because the sun is so close to Earth, that targeting the blue planet would damage Cassini’s sensors. The July 19 image was possible because Saturn blocked out the sun”, NASA says.
Somewhere there I am on that little blue spot in the immeasurable universe, together with 6 billions of other people. Who am I? What is this planet, lonely drifting in space with its moon? Who supervises the solar system including its planets, among which the earth is a tiny blue dot? Who owns the numerous star systems outside that of ‘our’ sun? It begins to dazzle when you try to think about it.
I invite you to think further: we aren’t alone in this universe. We live in a planet that has been visited. Once in the fullness of time He came to be born on earth as a baby in Bethlehem, at the time king Herod governed in Judea, and Augustus was the emperor of the Roman Empire. He, the Son of the living God, who created heaven and earth, who is above time and space, who has all the stars in his hand. He is the Word by which everything is created what exists. He came to live amongst us, as John says in the beginning of his Gospel. Deep mystery that through Him the world will be kept in its place in the universe! Through Him the universe will not collapse in an endless nothing, but He will bring it to a beautiful existence in harmony. He has come to remove sin and to destroy evil. He will come back to fulfil the universe with His glory and joy. All who have bowed for Him and confessed Him to be the eternal King, will participate in this joy and glory. Wonderful perspective, and NASA helped to think about it…
At Christmas we focus on this joyful mystery of God visiting our planet. Welcome in IREF service to hear more about it (25 December, 12.00 hrs, Oude Kerk, Delft)!