Starting Points

Genesis 1: 1 – 5

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

There have been a series of documentaries about the space race recently, or rather the American space effort. Much of it absolutely fascinating not least because at the back of your mind is the fact that it was nigh on 60 years ago, long before the days when Douglas Adams would assess the technological prowess of the human race as “they think a digital watch is a pretty cool idea” and as someone else said the computing power on board an Apollo mission would nowadays be considered poor if it were controlling a child’s toy.

What cannot be denied though is that despite all this they did indeed fulfil Kennedy’s pledge that they would go to the moon.

One of the programmes concerned Apollo 8 the first mission to actually go around the moon, see the “Dark Side of the Moon” and be completely caught off guard by both the beauty and psychological effect of Earth rise as they came round the moon.

The mission took place over Christmas 1968 and it had been decided that the crew should make some kind of broadcast on Christmas Eve to what NASA humbly claimed would be the largest audience ever to hear the human voice simultaneously. The crew long before launch gave serious thought to what to say and in the end they decided on reading Genesis 1. I am not sure if it was a the largest audience ever but I do remember it included me. I cannot remember being inspired or indeed moved in any particular way by the Reading, it was not surprising either to hear the Bible read in such circumstances. I wonder what the reaction will be if such a reading is read when the first manned capsule to orbit Mars broadcasts to Earth?

This passage has another significance for me. The other week I mentioned about my friend and mentor Rev Bob Jones. Well Bob once told me that when he was a teenager he decided to test his faith by for six months believing every word in the Bible was literally true. It wasn’t easy especially in these early books where contradictory passages are included almost side by side, but he did it. He then set out to live six months as if none of it were true. Sometimes during that half year he would get as far as breakfast before realizing it was impossible for it not to be true!

As we venture into the unknown we go with a faith that tells us vast as the Universe is we are important to God and part of his plan.



Lord God our loving Father, when we see how great is your creation we scarce can take it in, but may we see we are part of your Kingdom, we are beloved of you and that even the vastness of space and time cannot separate us from you.

In your Mercy hear our prayer,