Remember the days when Pluto was a planet? For me who has a pretty poor memory I do remember when Pluto was just a tiny planet far far away beyond those massive planets we all memorised the order of.
In January 2006 the New Horizons mission launched. With a spaceship powered by a Playstation One, this machine has travelled over 5 billion kilometres. That’s the equivalent of flying around the world 125 thousand times.
Only 8 months after that launch some science nerds were having a cup of tea and decided that actually Pluto shouldn’t be a planet anymore. From that moment it was a ‘dwarf’ planet. I didn’t quite meet all the criteria in the ‘How to be a Planet’ rulebook, so it was kicked out of the elite group that Jupiter, Mars and Earth belong to.
Now that the New Horizons spacecraft has reached Pluto many are questioning that decision and are calling for Pluto to be let back into the elite planet squad. Even the head of NASA himself says that he thinks Pluto should rightly be called a planet.
Now I’m sure you are wondering why this is important…why this is relevant on our Christian website where we blog to encourage each other and to deepen our faith. Well there are two reasons.
There are times in our lives when people label us. Unfortunately we live in a world of gossip and lies, and this can have a huge effect on us.
Just like people have labelled Pluto based on their perceived knowledge, people can label us the same way. The problem is when the knowledge is skewed, or just incorrect. People so often hear one sided stories or they are at the end of the line in a game of Chinese Whispers.
This is something I’ve silently struggled with over the last 12 months or so. People talking about me, but not to me. People spreading lies rather than seeking truth. People judging without the evidence.
While I find it easy to brush this off most of the time, it does still deep down have an impact. That impact varies from anger to social awkwardness and to avoidance of places and/or events.
What gives me peace, and ultimately what helps me brush it off, is that I know God knows me. He sees the truth and he knows my situation. He’s closer to it than I could ever know.
Back to Pluto…. All this information that the New Horizons project is sending back to earth is really confusing scientists and astronomers. They hoped this information would help them understand the origins of this universe. But it’s sent them backwards. Now they just have more questions than before.
While it is amazingly impressive that humans have figured out how to get so close to a planet 5 billion kilometres away, it’s even more impressive seeing the photos of this creation. While we don’t fully understand it, we can fully admire it. And while the world admires the beauty of this planet and of this universe, we also acknowledge the creator of it all.
God has created this vast universe, this beautiful place that no one quite understands. Yet he knows each one of us intimately and cares for each one of us.
“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
As I write this a song comes to mind. (‘Closer Than you Know’ by Hillsong. You can listen to it at the bottom of the page.) The song is a conversation between God and someone praying. God sings these words:
Lift up your eyes and see
Heaven is closer than you know
Lift up your voice and sing
Know that My love won’t let you go
And I won’t forsake you
And the reply is this:
Lord I hear You I know You’re there
Closer now than my skin and bones could bare
Breathing deep within me
You are always with me
I can see You where eyes can’t stare
Brighter now than the sun could ever bare
Breathing all around me
God I know You’re with me here
I think it’s amazing that we can see the beauty of the universe and know that the creator is even closer to us than our skin and bones are. He knows us fully and sees our situations completely. I hope that’s something that gives comfort to us all.