After almost 10 years and ~$800 million dollars, the New Horizons spacecraft is finally passing Pluto and beginning to send back images and data about the farthest objects in the Kuiper Belt. And scientists are really, really excited. And understandably so; after all, Pluto gets a lot of attention.
Ever since being discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, and having been named by 11-year-old Venetia Burney, Pluto has captured the fascination of the world. In 2006, Pluto was “downgraded” to a dwarf planet, giving it even more interest. And now, though neither Burney nor Tombaugh are alive to see it, the first real analysis of the dwarf planet and the Kuiper Belt are coming to earth.
But what I find so interesting is that the statements I’ve been reading lately could very easily have been taken from my last sermon on heaven. Consider the following:
- This will be a “really high stakes moment.”
- “Almost certainly there will be some surprises”
- Sometimes _________ seems like a far frontier, this unreachable goal, this unreachable place…”
- This is a “really exciting time” to be a ____________.
- “We are awestruck at how amazing _________ looks.”
Only, those statements didn’t come from a sermon on heaven. Rather, they came from the scientists discussing the New Horizons Pluto mission!
Now, don’t get me wrong. Space and solar system exploration is interesting. And I appreciate all that has gone into making this mission happen. But I can’t help seeing a few points that are worthy of our consideration.
- Consider the excitement the scientists get by looking to the heavens to reach their goal. Early Christians had this kind of desire, looking for Christ’s imminent return. If we have, over the past ~1900 years, lost our fervent expectation, we should take note (Luke 21:34-36).
- Consider the anticipation of something great. Christians have an incredible reward. Far greater than pictures of Pluto, Heaven will be an amazing reward that Jesus has prepared for us (Matthew 5:12; Revelation 21:4,15-27, John 14:2-3).
- Consider the investment. Our government was willing to invest about $800 million in the building of New Horizons. Additionally, they launched it, despite the delayed gratification of a decade to reach its first goal. Some Christians want God’s grace, mercy, and blessings, but only if they come today. Remember, we are called to endure in faith until death (Revelation 2:10). What investment of your time and resources do you put into your eternity?
So, yes, the Pluto exploration is exciting. Or, at least, I think so. But is the pursuit of heaven and His Kingdom even greater? Absolutely! Give it some thought this week and let me know if you have questions.