Earthrise from the moon what does it mean?

nasa-apollo8-dec24-earthriseAt our church last Sunday this photo of earthrise from the moon was shown.  We are doing a sermon series on worship and this was used as a pointer to get us to think about Psalm 8 by what did this image mean to us?

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Its a wonderful psalm that uses the natural world to get us to worship.  Many of us find this very helpful to get us to think about God.  It also shows us that as individuals we are precious and loved by God and I would say also reminds us we are responsible stewards of God’s creation.

Back to the original question which was when we look at Earthrise what doe it mean to us?  I’ve been thinking about this over the last few days.

First, it cannot be divorced from the fact that many people think the picture launched the modern environmental movement.  This is because the world looks small and fragile hanging in space, especially compared to the moon’s bleakness.  Its also since its one of the first (and the best up till then) of images taken from space showing our home.  Other thing it makes me think of is the atmosphere is not visible in the image, showing its relative thinness compared to the Earth.  An atmosphere that is being damaged by us with dramatic consequences.  Lastly it makes me think its the only place we have got.  Whilst there are other exoplanets being discovered almost every week, there may be alien lifeforms, they are totally unreachable with current (any?) technology.  This is our home, all we have and we need to look after it.

Neil

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