Red Planet

Red Planet

At the Christian Care Communities’ Auxiliary meeting on Wednesday, the devotional delivered by Chaplain Andreas Price began with a reading from Isaiah. It included phrases about God “holding the oceans of the world in the palm of his hand”, “measuring the sky with the span of his hand” (a span being the distance between the tip of your little finger and the tip of your thumb when they are spread wide), and “”weigh the mountains in a scale”. The grandeur of God is ever before us and we are awe stricken when we try to comprehend the works of God in the universe. We are also fascinated by the prospect that we are not alone in that universe, that there may be life similar to ours out there somewhere. Just last week, it was announced that a planet orbiting a Red Star, Proxima Centauri, the closest star to our sun, holds the possibility of having liquid water on its surface which is a requirement for life as we know it. But our fascination is not recent; it can be traced to the very earliest accounts of human beings as they tried to explain the purpose and origin of the stars.

More recently we have become enamored of a planet in our own solar system, Mars. Do you know how many movies have been made with Mars as the subject? 52! Here is a representative list: 1924 Aelita; 1938 Flash Gordon’s Trip to Mars; 1945 The Purple Monster Strikes; 1953 The War of the Worlds; 1980 The Martian Chronicles; 1990 Total Recall; 1996 Mars Attacks; 1999 Escape from Mars; 1999 My Favorite Martian; 2000 Red Planet; 2000 Mission to Mars; 2001 Ghost of Mars; 2001 Stranded; 2005 War of the Worlds; 2005 Doom; 2012 John Carpenter; 2015 The Martian. This doesn’t even cover television shows or movies about space other than Mars.

We really are fascinated by the possibility of not being alone, albeit we tend to think in rather violent terms about how we will encounter other humans, aliens and species. Yet we want to believe that we are not the only “sentient, cognizant beings” in the universe. And we want to believe in something greater than ourselves, something or someone who is the beginning, in control and with a plan for the future. A by-product of our belief is that recognizing that the greatness of God reveals the smallness of the issues of life over which we obsess and worry and stress. And it reminds us that there is hope in creation, in life and in the universe through our faith in a God of love, love large enough to measure the universe!

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