Last July, a photograph made the whole world excited. That was the photo of Pluto. After traveling nearly 3 billion miles over the past nine and a half years, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft finally reached the margins of the solar system and had its rendezvous with Pluto. NASA’s New Frontier program, which has been leading this project, indeed let all humankind encounter with the new frontier of the world. Watching the photos of Pluto, I got amazed at the effort of the scientists who push the limit of human possibility and expand the horizon of human knowledge. In such way, New Horizons and New Frontier are very appropriate names for the spacecraft and the project.
Reflecting on this exploration reading another article with the amazement and wonder, I got a phone call from a funeral home and had a request to officiate a memorial service on Saturday. Having accepted the request, I fell in a strange thought, which might be totally unrelated to the Pluto exploration. I thought, although humans have been able to expand the new border of the world through diverse ways, they have never been able to explore beyond the existential border of humankind. This border, which is still completely unknown and untrodden, is nothing but the border between our life and death. It seems that science remains silent about this border. Human intellect cannot push this border further than it used to be, and we have no technology to send a spacecraft to take a photo of the world beyond this border of life. New horizon and new frontier…we have not been able to find anything like them confronting the border of inescapable and definite human end.
Regarding this border, this frontier, our intellect and reason may not be the proper means of obtaining knowledge. The Bible tells that in order to see beyond our existential border, we need to have faith in God, the Creator, who brings forth all forms of life and is the Lord of the whence and wither of life. Through this special way of faith, we may understand the truth of human life only by grace. The idiom, “seeing is believing,” is not applicable here. Maybe the reversed version of that idiom would be true, “believing is seeing.”
Instead of new horizon or new frontier, there are certainly the words of “a new heaven and a new earth” in the Bible (Revelation 21:1). We do not know what they would be like and when they would come, but we believe in Jesus who arose from the dead and his promise that he will come again and invite all of us to the heavenly banquet when he makes all things new. Looking at the picture of Pluto exposed clearly to our sight and reflecting upon the beauty and mystery of the universe and its new horizons and frontiers today, I hope we may also look into the border of our life and death. And pray gratefully for we have the promise of a new heaven and a new earth and for we know it through our eyes of faith.
Those who believe in the promise for the life everlasting, may God’s border-crossing love and God’s grace beyond any frontiers of the world be with them today. Amen.
Scripture - Please read "Revelation, Chapter 21" today.
Pastor Earl Kim's weekly reflections