November 24, 2014
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? Psalms 8:3-4
When President Theodore Roosevelt and his friends were at his home in Sagamore Hill, after an evening of conversation they would go out on the front lawn and search the skies until they found the faint spot of light mist beyond the lower left-hand corner of the Great Square of Pegasus.
Then Roosevelt, or someone else in the party, would recite, "That is the spiral galaxy in Andromeda. It is as large as our Milky Way. It is one of 100 million galaxies. It consists of 1 billion suns, each larger than our sun."
Then Roosevelt would grin and say, "Now I think we are small enough! Let's go to bed."
This past week I was, like Roosevelt, reminded how small we are.
That was because the U.S. Space Agency has announced that Voyager 1 has entered interstellar space. And why did that bit of news make me feel small? Simple, Voyager 1 was launched in 1977, when I was not yet 30 years old. For the last 36 years the probe has been chugging along at 38,000 miles an hour.
It is now 12 billion miles from the sun.
As the psalmist said, "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?"
Good question, and it is a question for which no one has a logical answer.
All anyone can say is this: in His power the Lord brought into being all that is and ever will be. In His wisdom He put humankind in charge of His perfect creation and then, after our sin, in His grace, He decided to save us.
The Lord who had made 100 million galaxies, with each composed of 1 billion suns, has decided that He was willing to send His Son into this world to carry our sins and die the death we deserved. Now, because the Lord is mindful of us, all who are brought to faith in the risen Redeemer are forgiven and granted eternal life.
Which leads us to the conclusion: the universe is an impressive thing, but God's grace is more so.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in Your grace You sent Your Son to seek and save sinners. Forgive humankind when they think they know, understand and are empowered to judge You. Let us see how small we are, how great You are, and how much we need You. This I pray in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries