Expanding our holy horizons

September 1st, 2015

Earlier this summer, on July 14, the world watched as NASA’s unmanned New Horizons spacecraft made the first-ever flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto and Pluto’s largest moon, Charon. Launched in January 2006, New Horizons traveled 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) to reach Pluto. Now, it moves into the Kuiper Belt, the rocky and icy “leftovers” from our solar system’s formation over four-and-a-half billion years ago.

The data New Horizons gathered will occupy astronomers for a long time, and the dramatic pictures it sent have already captivated the public. For a few days, Pluto seemed to pop up everywhere online and on TV. According to the popular tech blog Gizmodo, “New Horizons’ beautiful Pluto pic was prime meme fodder … [T]he existence of a heart shape on the surface (or is it a dog?) fueled our imaginative whimsy.”

‘A wonderful moment’

Even scientists committed to factual observation and analysis weren’t immune to the sense of wonder these close-up views evoked. “I’m overwhelmed,” said astrobiologist David Grinspoon in a Newsweek interview: “We have expanded our image of the universe — it’s a wonderful moment!”

“We don’t do these missions just for the science,” said NASA scientist Curt Niebur. “We see on a daily basis how utterly amazing the universe is, and we want to share that with everyone.”

Seeking wonder

Teens often have a keen sense of wonder and seek experiences of transcendence. The church can help them see that Christian faith encourages our appreciation and exploration of all God has created. When we see incredible sights like Pluto, we see the heavens “telling the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1, NRSV).

Churches can also demonstrate how a sense of wonder can fuel our worship of God and our work for God in the world. We believe the same, ultimate power behind the cosmos lived among us in Jesus, and is still at work in the world and through us, bringing more wonders into being.

Question of the Day: What really and truly "wows" you?
Focal Scriptures: Psalm 8; Luke 5:17-18; Ephesians 3:16-21

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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