Re-Entry and Splashdown!

It has been an exciting month for space enthusiasts! (Moi included!). The Artemis 1 unmanned moon mission concluded on Sunday, December 11 with re-entry of the Orion space capsule and its splashdown and recovery after more than three-weeks. The mission, to and from, including a wide-swooping loop around the moon after 1.4 million miles, was epic. The images taken by the spacecraft cameras have been breathtaking and vivid! Borrowing an exclamation from the Star Trek television series, this mission into deep space (like the fictional Starship Enterprise) promises to take us in the future to distances beyond the moon “where no man has gone before!”

"When I consider Your heavens...the moon
and the stars... What is man that You are mindful
 of him... that You visit him?" (Ps. 8:3-4).
(Photo Credit: NASA)

The 25,000-mph re-entry into earth’s atmosphere exposed Orion’s newly advanced heatshield to temperatures of more than 5000 degrees Fahrenheit. This shield had never been tested before in actual spaceflight. To add further drama, NASA scientists programmed the spacecraft to momentarily skip out of earth’s atmosphere during its return to reduce G-force loads and to pinpoint its landing. All maneuvers were reported to be spectacularly successful! The splashdown into the Pacific Ocean near Baja, California came at exactly the planned time of 11:40am, CST.

There are sure to be many memorable accomplishments in the years to come as men and women explore the moon. The Artemis II mission is projected to launch some time in 2024 with astronauts aboard who will, on this occasion, orbit around the moon. Manned lunar landings will be scheduled thereafter. I am delightfully dizzy thinking about all the possibilities!

The Blue Marble (Photo: Public Domain)

Christmas is a season of excited anticipation! Advent services have been building to the important moment on Christmas Eve when believers will exclaim and celebrate, Emmanuel, God with Us! The focal point of our worship has been on the Coming of the Christ-Child. We learn that Incarnation, God entering human flesh in Jesus Christ, was an intentional and carefully planned event in history. Paul says the scheduling was so perfectly precise that “when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us…” (Galatians 4:4-5a, NLT)

This baby we celebrate came at the exact time when Caesar Augustus was the Roman emperor. Bethlehem would be the exact place of Christ’s entry. A humble cave barn with a feed trough for his bassinet would be the specific landing site. Mary and Joseph would be the chosen instruments to love, protect, and nurture God’s One and Only Son. None of this was random or by chance, but rather... a Master Plan to save the world!

If a spaceflight could be regarded as spectacularly successful by man, how infinitely more impressive is the strategic way God demonstrated His love and executed His plan to transform human hearts through a baby. This infant, Christ, the Lord, will grow up one day to give His life on a cross that makes possible our forgiveness from sin. Oh, how words fail to adequately praise God “for His indescribable Gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). What grace! What a Savior!

Merry Christmas!

Mike Keppler, retired pastor,

active churchman and
doting grandparent.
Contact: drmjkeppler@gmail.com


 

 

 

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