This Good Earth

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:3-4 NRSV)

When I was a child my father had a subscription to National Geographic. That magazine, often complete with maps, brought the world to the rural family farm in Missouri where I was raised. Some of the most impressive magazines to me were the ones with color photos of the other planets and moons in our solar system. I loved looking at vivid images of planets that for the vast majority of human history were only moving stars to earth-bound observers. The simple barrenness of Mars and the sharp rings of Saturn held my imagination transfixed.

Lately I happened to see a photo of earth from the International Space Station. The waves in the ocean were visible on the day side, with the darkness of space in the background off to the side. It was breathtaking, and I was impressed in a way I haven’t been in years. Looking around the Net I’ve found more images of earth taken from space, and continue to be amazed. This active, warm ball of earth and water teeming with life among unfathomably cold or else scorching planets is a wonder.

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