Big Rocks, little rocks and the Falling Sky

While the whole world looked to the skies in anticipation of asteroid 2012 DA124 (nearly the size of a football field) reportedly on course to make a 17,000 mile “near miss” fly-by of our planet, an unobserved meteor of much lesser mass (approximately 10 tons, and only about the size of an SUV), slipped through the atmosphere at 33,000 mph and exploded in the skies above Chelyabinsk, Russia.

The blast had the force of a nuclear explosion, and injured more than a 1000 people. Most of the injured were struck by shattered glass as the sonic boom and ensuing shock wave imploded windows in some 3,000 buildings, exposing residents to the bitter cold as temperatures in the city were only in the teens.

So why didn’t anybody see it coming? “‘Apparently, size matters,’ explained Andrew Cheng of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. … That’s relatively small compared with asteroid 2012 DA14, which will make the closest recorded pass of an asteroid to the Earth — about 17,150 miles — later today [2/15/13].”

NASA’s Near Earth Object Program tracks thousands of larger asteroids, but “countless smaller ones” go undetected. “If you think about objects the size of the one that came into Russia, you’re probably looking at 100 million up there,” said K.T. Ramesh, professor science and engineering at John’s Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering.

Application?

While everyone was looking at the elephant in the room–asteroid 2012 DA14–they all failed to see the much smaller, but clearly powerful and damaging meteor that slipped in undetected.

Our sin consciousness operates much the same way. While we are diligently (and proudly) monitoring our lives for the “big” offenses like murder, theft, adultery, etc., countless other more subtle sins (envy, jealousy, lust, deception, anger, bitterness, etc., etc., etc.) have slipped under our radar and are daily wrecking havoc on our lives. And when we least expect it, BOOM! Our world implodes, and we naïvely say to ourselves, “Where did THAT come from?”

 

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.

(Matthew 5:21-26 ESV)