A Vast Universe
32 years ago, the spacecraft Voyager 1 was leaving the Solar System. Before it did, it took a picture of Earth, as seen from 6 billion kilometres/3.7 billion miles away. Yes, that’s right:
6 billion km away.
The image is known as the ‘Pale Blue Dot’, and you can see it down the page, with an arrow to show Earth. Everything that has ever happened in human history, all the life we have ever known, takes place on that tiny speck of blue.
The climate emergency is a discipleship issue
We recently began a sermon series on the theme of Christians and the environment, reflecting on what the Bible says about the world we live in. We have been learning about worshipping God as the Creator, why the state of the environment matters from a Christian point of view and what this has got to do with the new creation at the end of time.
Ecology and following Jesus: The climate emergency is a discipleship issue
Of course, we are all aware that the natural world is facing many problems, all of them related in some way to human choices. We are now familiar with the idea of global warming, caused by pollution. There are also big problems with animals at risk of going extinct, and once abundant habitats becoming desolate (the Amazon rainforest or Great Barrier Reef for example.) And many of the world’s poorest people already suffer because of this crisis, through famine, fire or flood.
This is all very scary and can be hard to focus on when there are so many other problems in the world that demand attention. But if we are to be faithful followers of Jesus, we need to take these problems seriously. The climate emergency is a discipleship issue, and it involves each of us. Ecology and following Jesus belong together.
Earth is almost invisible
That’s why I value the Pale Blue Dot image so much. It is amazing that we can take photos across billions of miles of space. It also reminds us of the beauty and fragility of the world God made.
In the photo, Earth is almost invisible, like a mote of dust, surrounded by the vastness of space. Just a pale blue dot.
Photo Copyright: NASA
God loves, cherishes and blesses that pale blue dot
And yet all of that vastness is God’s creation, an act of creativity and delight, done for the sake of it. Even more astonishingly, in all that vastness, amidst all those billions of stars, God loves, cherishes and blesses that pale blue dot, full of the life that God created.
God's Great Gift
This is a great gift to each of us, made even more real in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the first fruits of the new creation.
As we reflect on what this means for us and our place in loving the Pale Blue Dot we call home, may we all be challenged and inspired by this message! May we address the climate emergency.