NASA has just launched its most ambitious ever mission to Mars. An Atlas V rocket took “Curiosity”, the one ton Mars Science Laboratory, on the first stage of its 8 month, 354 million mile journey to Mars, travelling at 3200 mph. This complex project, which has cost £1.6 billion, is intended to discover whether there has ever been life on the Red Planet. Curiosity, which is the most powerful, capable and complex planetary rover ever built, will spend 2 years travelling over a small part of the surface of Mars seeking evidence of life, past or present. The project is an amazing example of the skills of scientists.
The principle of life is wonderful and mysterious. It is supremely precious and fragile. It seems to require more than simply water and the right environment or to be a mere chance event. Rather it is something that has been given to us by an awesome Creator who is powerful and wise. He is not far from each one of us, for in him we live and move and have our being. We can speak to him where we are, and he hears us and cares. He is concerned for us all from the smallest child to the frailest elderly person. He cares for people of all races and languages. His promise is, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
We will soon be remembering the birth of Jesus Christ. In the words of the carol, “He came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all, and his shelter was a stable, and his cradle was a stall: with the poor and mean, and lowly, lived on earth our Saviour holy.” Jesus was more than a good man or a wonderful religious teacher. He was the Son of God, who took human nature and lived for a time among us. He came to show us what God is like and to reconcile us to God.
God created us with amazing abilities, as the Curiosity project demonstrates. We share in a little of his amazing creative skill. The meaning, significance and relationship we all seek, and so much need, will not be found through an exploration to a remote, rocky planet. Millions of ordinary people, in all parts of the world, have found the key to life in receiving the Jesus Christ as Saviour, Lord and God.