NASA has sent a space craft far beyond Pluto that recently took pictures of a reddish rock that astronomers call “Ultima Thule” (which means “beyond the known world”). This hunk of rock and ice stretches about 20 miles across and is about 6.5 billion kilometers from the earth.
Ultima Thule is significant, according to NASA, because it could offer us insights about what the solar system was like at its first forming. It could help scientists understand how the building blocks of planets were made 4 billion years ago.
On January 1 the New Horizons spacecraft sent back pictures—images the like of which we have never seen before. What is even more exciting is that this spacecraft has enough power to continue exploring the unknown universe for another 11 years. So, it will continue traveling further out into space and take even more out-of-this-world pictures that we have never seen before.
As Psalm 19 rejoices, “The heavens declare the glory of God.” How amazing is our God to have created so many vast planets and stars?
“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place,” asks Psalm 8:3, “what is man that you are mindful of him and the son of man that you care for him?” Compared to all this vastness of space, we on this tiny planet might seem insignificant. Yet, God does love us and care for us as precious beings in God’s creation.
Ponder the words of Ephesians 3:20: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work with us…” Or Romans 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing.”
Yet, beyond the known world (to borrow our new celestial discovery’s moniker) and beyond the new horizons emerging in our sciences, we know an unknowable God. We know this Creator who cares for all creation through mighty words and deeds, through a heaven-sent Son whose birth we celebrated at Christmas, and through our own faith in the reliable evidence of things unseen.
We may continue to journey far in our search and discovery of distant, unknown worlds. But the God we know is always near, listening and peering into our searching hearts, hearing and responding with love to our prayers of faith. Let us believe in that!