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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"You Go To Heaven When You're Born"

Next Monday is Christmas Eve. It is also the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most iconic photographs ever taken. The astronauts of Apollo 8 were the first humans to orbit the moon and see Earth "rise" on the moon's horizon. On that space mission they saw, and shared in photography, what no human had seen before - Earth suspended in space.

earthrise apollo nasa AS8 14 2383HR

James Lovell, the last surviving member of that crew describes it this way: "...we brought back a picture of the Earth as it is 240,000 miles away. And the fact is, it gives you a different perspective of the Earth when you see it as three-dimensional between the sun and the moon, and you begin to realize how small and how significant the body is. When I put my thumb up to the window I could completely hide it, and then I realized that behind my thumb that I'm hiding this Earth, and there are about 6 billion people that are all striving to live there."

Earth, he says, "...has the proper mass, has the gravity to contain water and an atmosphere, which are the very essentials for life,..  orbiting a star just at the right distance — not too far to be too cold, or too close to be too hot — and just at the right distance to absorb that star's energy and then, with that energy, cause life to evolve here in the first place."

From this amazing perspective, Lovell concludes, "You have to really kind of think about our own existence here in the universe. You realize that people often say, 'I hope to go to heaven when I die,' In reality, if you think about it, you go to heaven when you're born. God has really given us a stage, just looking at where we were around the moon, a stage on which we perform. And how that play turns out is up to us.

Next Monday many people around the world will tell an ancient story of the birth of a child named Jesus, which means "the one who saves."  Could it be that the salvation we seek and the salvation Jesus brings is similar to Lovell's observations? Jesus tells us the kingdom of heaven is already here and now.  When we realize this, we are born into harmony with our planet and all of its inhabitants-- heaven!

( I recently read the title quote in the Dec-Jan "AARP Bulletin." Quotes from Lovell are from this article: )

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