I think it's time I let you in on a secret. I kept a moon diary as a child. Not content with Barbie dolls, Sylvanian families or playing in the garden with my friends, every night I drew a picture of the moon. The idea, so my father told me, was to watch (and draw) the whole cycle, observing as the moon waxed and waned. I began to learn about the stars and the incredible constellations they formed in the night sky. I gazed, awestruck at the ever changing picture, marvelling at its size and beauty. To this day watching rockets lift off into space has the power to bring me to tears.
So, it was with fascination that I watched Felix Baumgartner break the world record for the highest freefall, as he jumped from a balloon 128,100ft above New Mexico. All eyes were on Felix, as he ascended higher and higher. For someone who loves space in all its wonder, I most definitely do not like heights. Being in a plane is as risky as it gets for me. The stunning sight of Earth's curve, captured by the on board camera made me feel more than a little queasy. The reality of his situation and task that lay ahead was a humbling one; in these moments nothing can be taken for granted.
One thing that stood out to me was how he summed up his record breaking leap: "Let me tell you - when I was standing there on top of the world, you become so humble. You don't think about breaking records anymore, you don't think about gaining scientific data - the only thing that you want is to come back alive."
It's nothing new that when faced with the unending expanse of space, humility swiftly follows. David wrote in the Psalms: 'When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set it place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?' (Psalm 8: 3-4). It seems to me that the more we see of our universe, the more we long to magnify him and humble ourselves.
I recently watched a video of the Apollo 8 space mission from December 24th 1968, in which the crew read Genesis 1: 1-10 in turn. The reading was accompanied by images of the moon and earth. This video, although grainy, was incredibly moving and moved me to a place of worship.
This week I'm determined to stop what I'm doing and look up. In doing so, I'm confident that it will lead me to humility and praise of our awesome God.