In Eden, New York, mysterious circles in a frozen pond have spurred talk of aliens. Last Friday, during an early spring snowstorm, large circles resembling giant polka dots began appearing on a pond surface. A resident posted a photo of the pond circles to a local TV station’s Facebook page, which elicited a variety of explanations, including elephant footprints and aliens.
There are more rational options. Decaying vegetation on the bottom of the pond could release gases that rise slowly to the surface, creating the polka-dot effect. Or natural springs could feed the pond with warmer water which rises, melting the snow and ice on the pond’s surface. No aliens or water-walking elephants have been sighted in the area.
In more ominous science news, members of Congress recently grilled NASA on the threat of asteroids to our planet. So far, NASA has detected only about 10 percent of the near-Earth objects that are wider than 87 miles across. There may be hundreds of thousands of such objects that remain unknown. After a meteor struck Russia last month, officials asked NASA’s chief what the space agency would do if a large asteroid headed on a collision course with Earth was discovered three weeks before impact. His answer: “If it’s coming in three weeks, pray.”
Today is Maundy Thursday. “Maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum, meaning “mandated.” The title reminds us of Jesus’ statement on this night: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). How did he love us?
Tonight, Jesus will sweat drops of blood as he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). He will watch the soldiers as they march toward him with torches in hand. He could flee at any time and return to the safety of Galilee, but he will wait for them to arrest him. He will suffer illegal trials, torture, and condemnation as “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8). He will do all of this for you. He considers your eternal life worth his death.
“Tomorrow” is promised to no one. Aliens won’t attack us today, but asteroids might. In a culture that devises long-range plans and spends hundreds of billions on our military, the only security we can always trust is found in God. Whatever fears you face this morning, if you wonder whether Jesus loves you, remember what he did for you this day. And consider this statement by novelist Ann Tatlock: “We can fully embrace God’s love only when we recognize how completely unworthy of it we are.”