In the big picture of the universe, earth is insignificant. But not to God.
Published on: 10-01-2019
This year we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the “giant leap for mankind” moon landing. It was an exciting, significant time in the history of our planet.
Most of those old enough to remember it will talk about how they gathered around television sets watching live, grainy, black-and-white images on television as Neil Armstrong and then Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the moon.
After the landing of the lunar module, Aldrin asked for everyone listening in to “pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.”
During the silence that followed he read the words of Jesus: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bring forth much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5, NIV).
Then he took the bread and wine (for a private communion) he’d brought with him for the occasion.
Later Aldrin wondered whether he should have done that because the astronauts knew they were representing all humankind, whatever their belief.
“But at the time, I could think of no better way to acknowledge the Apollo 11 experience than by giving thanks to God,” said Aldrin.
Stepping down the steps of the lunar module to the moon’s surface, Armstrong gave his prepared line: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
He spoke truth.
A couple years later, in 1971, Jim Irwin spent three days on the moon. He’s best remembered for images of David Scott and him bouncing across the moon’s surface in a moon buggy. He was the first automobile passenger on the moon [Scott drove].
He recalls an occasion during which he stood on the moon looking at the earth. He stretched his hand out, thumb up, and closed one eye. The earth was lost behind his thumb.
In a sense, the whole of our planet was under his thumb. For Irwin, it made him feel “terrifyingly small.”
We can say that our planet is just another rock in the universe. Yes, it sustains life. Intelligent life. Life that’s creative enough to send humans across inhospitable space and land them on the moon.
However, in the big picture of the universe, earth is insignificant.
But not to God. He demonstrated that by an earth landing in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago with the birth of Jesus. It is what makes our planet great. Significant.
It isn’t because of who we are, what we’ve become, or our abilities or wisdom. God makes the difference.
“God so loved the world that He gave” (John 3:16). That’s one giant leap for humankind.