STS-107 News

Memorial Service for the STS-107 Crew
02.07.03
 
Shuttle Landing Facility
NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Florida


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JAMES JENNINGS: Let us bow for prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the opportunity to assemble today at this difficult time at the Shuttle Landing Facility to acknowledge and honor our seven friends and colleagues. Our hearts are heavy and full of sadness right now. However, we are strengthened by knowing that our fallen colleagues would encourage us to continue the great exploration in space adventure that they sacrificed their lives pursuing. God we know that through your grace and mercy, we will have the strength and courage to ensure that their dreams never end.

We ask that you help the family members, the NASA familiar, and all of mankind cherish their memories and the contribution made in pursuit of space exploration for the future.

Father, I ask that you comfort us in your gentle ways as we cope with this tragedy loss of this wonderful NASA team. Your words say that you would never leave us alone, just as you said in John 14:7, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the word giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Now there, Father, honor our steps and let us remember the words of Isaiah 14:10: "Fear thy not, for I am with thee. Be not dismayed, for I am God, I will strengthen thee, ye I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteous."

With God's help, we can endure this hardship and begin once again to focus on the future. We know that with God, all things are possible and unto his name we give praise and glory. Amen.

SEAN O'KEEFE: This is the place where our space exploration dreams take flight. From here, seven courageous astronauts sailed to the heavens on their daring adventure of exploration and discovery. This is where the great lives are defined by great purposes.

Throughout our history, people have always marveled when great ships leave their ports and venture out beyond the horizon. When the history of our time is written, future generations will always know that the port that sent spirits and spacecrafts soaring was named Kennedy. It is from this port that 41 years ago this month Mission Control uttered the words: "God Speed, John Glenn," as this original 7 Mercury astronaut became the first American to orbit the Earth.

It was from this port that our Apollo Moon voyager set forth coming in peace for all mankind. "Mystery creates wonder and wonder is the basis of man's desire to understand," said Neil Armstrong. The hero's very next footprint after he stepped away from the sandy soil here in Florida some 34 years ago came on lunar soil at Tranquility Base.

Great lives are defined by great purposes. It was from here, too, that spacecraft have been sent to explore the planets and Moon of our solar system sending back evidence of fascinating places that humans yearn to explore in the century ahead.

Twenty-two years ago from here, Columbia, the new gem of our ocean of space, launched on her maiden voyage with the outstanding crew of John Young and Bob Crippen, who we're honored to have here with us today. Along with the sister shuttles, Columbia set the stage for the permanent human occupancy of the space frontier, an amazing milestone in human history that is now being achieved on the International Space Station.

This was the port from which all this historic exploration occurred and from which so much more history will be made as we continue to pursue our mission goals of understanding and protecting the home planet, exploring the universe in searching for life and inspiring the next generation of explorers.

Before her final voyage, Scott Thurston and the extraordinary team of folks who lived with, worried about and attended to every single detail of Columbia, made sure that it was safe for flight. She carried as wonderful a group of human beings as you could ever hope to assemble: Rick Husband, Willie McCool, Mike Anderson, Dave Brown, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla and Ilan Ramon. We miss them more than words can describe.

Last Saturday, Columbia and her stalwart crew were minutes away from this port, this very spot in safety following their noble mission to advance the frontiers of science. Friends and family, we were all gathered here at the Shuttle Landing Facility waiting to give these space explorers a welcoming hug for their return to this good Earth, and instead God brought the crew members into his loving embrace. Such of the mysteries of existence that we can never hope to fathom.

And throughout our family here at Kennedy as well, our rivers of tears flow. It was our fervent prayer that Columbia and its crew would safely come home to its harbor here, but this was not to be the case. But please know this, do not lose heart. The families of the astronauts, the American public and the President have all expressed deep confidence.

On Tuesday, you'll recall the President said, "The people of NASA are being tested once again." In your grief, you're responding as friends would have wished, with focus, professionalism and unbroken faith in the mission of this Agency. Captain Dave Brown was correct; America's Space Program will go on.

And we thank the President's brother, the Governor, who is here with us today, for the wonderful expression of support that he demonstrates. Governor, we are all proud of the performance of the Kennedy Space Center team.

We know spaceflight has risk, but on Saturday when our worst fears were realized, the people of this Center were focused, organized and deliberate doing so well what we've all been trained to do so many times. Your response here at Kennedy and the teamwork that was displayed was simply magnificent. And throughout this difficult week, you have participated in our ongoing analysis and debris recovery work with thoughtful regard for the enormity of our duty. Like the rest of the NASA family, we will persevere.

The entire Space Coast community and the people of Florida are a part of this extended NASA family. To you, the astronauts were more than heroes admired from afar. You shared a special bond with these space explorers, as when they went on their amazing ventures they were going from this very backyard. We know the pride you have in our astronauts and in our entire NASA family. And to honor the legacy of Columbia's astronauts and as a commitment to the families, you can be assured that we will find the cause of the accident, correct the problems and return to safe flight.

Every time I come to Florida, I'm eager to meet the members of our future generation of explorers, and there are so many here in the Florida area that certainly fit that characterization. Up and down the Space Coast, there are kids who go to bed dreaming they will one day grow up to be the heroes of the caliber of Rick, of Willie, Mike, Dave, Laurel, Kalpana and Ilan. To these explorers of the future who are so fortunate to attend schools with names like Astronaut, Freedom 7, Challenger 7, Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavor and of course Columbia, we have a special message: While we're filled with sorrow now, there is so much about these historic and heroic astronauts for us to be grateful of. Be grateful that each had a burning desire to conduct research to help better our lives. The astronauts who represented such a wonderful tapestry of races, religions, nationalities also demonstrated through their genuine love for each other, the essential brotherhood and sisterhood of man.

Ilan Ramon reflected on this truth when he paused to ponder on the beauty of his ancient homeland. He observed how, "It looks marvelous from up here, so peaceful, so wonderful, and so fragile." We thank him for that priceless memory.

Great lives are indeed defined by great purposes. This is the legacy of the Columbia astronauts that we will always remember and treasure forever. May God bless the crew of STS-107 and give comfort to all those who mourn for these valiant heroes.

CAPT. ROBERT CRIPPEN: We are gathered here this morning to honor and salute the Columbia crew of Mission STS-107. The grief in the hearts of the crew's families and the entire NASA family, which includes all of our contractor community, which supports the Agency, is very heavy. Still, this crew lived lives that deserve our celebration. Yes, they were cut short, but these brave men and women lived their lives to the fullest doing much more in their time here on Earth than many can imagine.

Words at a time like this seem weak. They don't fully communicate the depth of our feelings. The NASA family speaks much clearer with actions. The action that is being taken to find the cause of the accident, correct it and continue the crew's journey of discovery in space is the grandest tribute that we can pay to them. I'm certain that is what they would have wanted.

It is fitting that we're gathered here on the Shuttle runway for this event. As Sean said, it was here last Saturday that family and friends waited anxiously to celebrate with the crew their successful mission and safe return to Earth. It never happened.

I'm sure that Columbia, which had traveled millions of miles and made that fiery re-entry 27 times before, struggled mightily in those last moments to bring her crew home safely once again. She wasn't successful.

Columbia was a fine ship. She was named after Robert Gray's exploration ship, which sailed out of Boston Harbor in the 18th century. Columbia and the other orbiters are all named after great explorer ships, for that is their mission, to explore the unknown.

Columbia was hardly a thing of beauty except those of us who loved and cared for her. She was often bad-mouthed for being a little heavy on the rear end, but many of us can relate to that. Many said she was old and past her prime. Still, she had only lived barely a quarter of her design life. In the Earth, she was only twenty-two. Columbia had a great many missions ahead of her. She, along with the crew, had her life snuffed out in her prime.

I was here at this Shuttle runway in March of 1978 when Columbia first arrived at the Kennedy Space Center. She came in on the back of a 747 escorted by Deke Slayton in a T-38. She certainly wasn't very pretty at that time; a large number of her tiles had not been installed and many that had were not adhering very well. KSC management made a fairly unpopular statement at the time that it was going to take several years to get her ready to fly. They were right.

Readied for launch by the loving care of the Kennedy team, the same care they had given to all 28 of her flights, she was finally ready to fly in April of 1981. John Young and I were privileged to take her on that maiden flight. She performed magnificently. "The world's greatest electric flying machine" was what John described her as.

Because she was a little heavy, she didn't get some of the more glamorous missions, but she was our leader in doing science on orbit. Just as she was doing with this crew in SPACEHAB on Mission STS-107, microgravity scientific exploration was her bag. She carried SPACEHAB numerous times studying material processing and life sciences, all of which were focused at giving us a better life here on Earth.

Columbia also helped us better understand the heavens and learn about the origins of the universe where several missions, including Astro, also by deploying the most advanced X-ray observatory ever built, the Chandra Space Telescope, and by our very recent Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Mission. Just as her crew has, Columbia has left us quite a legacy.

There is heavy grief in our hearts, which will diminish with time, but it will never go away. And we won't ever forget. Hail Rick, Willie, K.C., Mike, Laurel, Dave and Ilan. Hail Columbia.

PASTOR MICHAEL LOOMIS: From Psalm 139: "Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there. If I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast."

Until last week, I had a love/hate relationship with cats. Now, stay with me for a moment. Cats can be pretty, sometimes they can be sweet, occasionally very loving, but they're independent, they hardly ever come when you call them, and except for my son's cat, they never play fetch. Sometimes they just feel kind of worthless.

And then I read these words from Ann Lamont. Ann wrote about her experience of God, which came through Jesus, and she said he was relentless. I didn't experience him so much as the hound of Heaven, the old poem about God relentlessly pursuing, but I experienced him as the old description, not as that description, but as the alley cat of Heaven who seemed to believe that if it just keeps showing up milling outside your door, you'd eventually open up and give him a bowl of milk. Of course as soon as you do, well, the next thing you know he's sleeping on your bed every night and stepping on your chest at dawn to play a little push-push. I resisted as long as I could, but he wore me out; he won. I was tired and vulnerable and he won. I let him in; I said come in. I quit, and he started sleeping on my bed that night. It was not so bad. It was even pretty nice.

This God that we know of is not, I think, indeed the hound of Heaven kind of God, but the alley cat of Heaven kind of God who keeps showing up, hanging around milling outside your door until you let him in. Questions for us keep rolling in a day like today, a week like this. Why? Why does God keep showing up? Why does God keep coming outside our door? Because as the Psalmist wrote: "Your love, oh Lord, reaches to the heavens." This is the God who loves. The God who steps on your chest is the same God whose love reaches up to the heavens.

I know there's a lot of hurt out there today. A lot of people asking a lot of big questions, wondering, second-guessing, wishing. Could I have done something that would have made things turn out different?

I want to remind you of two things. First is this: God created us as human beings not to do those things which are easy, but to do things that indeed are hard. The second thing is this: Wherever we are, whatever we're facing, this God is still the God who loves us. Not because we're perfect. We're not, none of us, we will all make mistakes, do things we wished we had not done. But God loves us just because this God is the God who loves relentlessly, persistently.

I heard this week someone asked the question: "What do good people do when bad stuff happens?" For me I think the answer is clear: You let God in. You allow this alley cat of Heaven to come in and love you. You let him step on your chest at dawn and play push-push. His love for you won't allow him to give up until you do.

Amen.

FATHER JOHN MURRAY: The President of the United States is assassinated as he travels in a motorcade through the streets of Dallas, Texas. A Space Shuttle named Challenger explodes just a few moments after liftoff and the seven astronauts on board lose their lives. Four planes filled with innocent people are commandeered by terrorists and aimed at the very heart of this nation. And a Space Shuttle named Columbia with seven astronauts on board preparing for what we thought would be a routine landing disintegrates in the sky somewhere over Texas. There are times when the news we hear is so awful, it is so horrifying, that for years afterwards we can remember precisely where we were and what we were doing when that news first reached us.

There are people here I'm sure too young to remember the assassination of President Kennedy. There are some too young perhaps to remember the Challenger tragedy. All of us will remember September 11th, and now the terrible news of Saturday morning last has been etched forever on our memories.

At times like this, it's as if the world stands still for us. We become rooted in position and we find ourselves wondering will life ever be the same again for us? Will we ever be able to look to the future again with the same kind of easy confidence? But surely one of the characteristics that has made this nation great is its resilience, its ability to deal with and recover after even the most awful tragedy. And that's not because human life is unimportant to us, nor does it mean that we are incapable somehow of understanding or appreciating fully the meaning of tragedy. The resilience of this nation, its ability to deal with and recover from the most awful tragedy has much to do with its pioneer spirit, a spirit which led in the beginning to the founding of this great nation, a spirit which ever since down through the years has been responsible for moving it forward.

It's a spirit which has enabled its people down through the years to go on reaching for new horizons, to go on defending its most cherished principles, to go on protecting freedom and serving the cause of peace even when the risks are great and the dangers only too well known.

It was this spirit that led this nation to dream about and then put together a program to make space exploration possible and to land our astronauts on the Moon. And it was in this spirit that Columbia lifted off from here on January 16 and was preparing to come back to here on Saturday morning last.

During these past several years, we had become accustomed again to missions which began and ended flawlessly, and the more we became accustomed to such missions, the less we thought about the possibility of anything catastrophic ever happening again. But the tragedy on Saturday morning last in the most graphic way possible has reminded us of the risks and dangers involved in the exploration of space, and we have been reminded as well of the courage and commitment called for from those who represent us on that frontier.

As a nation we mourn the loss of seven heroes. As a nation we honor their memory even as we hold their grieving families in our hearts. And as a nation we remember with pride and gratitude their courage, their commitment and their sacrifice. We know, we know, that the spirit which they exemplified in their lives so well will continue to move over this land and that we, as a people, will go on reaching out for new horizons, will go on defending our cherished principals, will go on protecting freedom and serving the cause of peace.

May these seven brave men and women live now forever at the right hand of God who says, "There is no love greater than this than to lay down one's life for one's friend."

RABBI ZVI KONIKOV: Today is a day of mourning and remembering. We are all pained to the core by the tragedy of Columbia. Today we mourn the loss of seven special people, seven heroic human beings: Rick Husband, William McCool, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark and my friend, Ilan Ramon. We pledge in the presence of the Almighty that we'll never forget you. Today we mourn as one family, just as these seven outstanding individuals who came from diverse backgrounds formed a team united as one.

Last week I was honored to have been a friend of Ilan Ramon and today I am humbled to be part of his legacy. As I think of my friend Ilan, I recall the words of King David in the Book of Samuel when told of the loss of his dear friend Jonathan, "I am pained and distressed over you, my brother Ilan, you were so pleasant to me."

At Haba Lubavitch, we daily live the motto of the sages; turn pain into action and tragedy into growth. Every challenge, every obstacle, every setback, no matter how painful and difficult, must be channeled into greater activity making the world a more Godly and kinder place.

For while Columbia is gone, our holy mission continues. Columbia is gone, yet the astronauts' souls are with God praying for the well-being of their families and for all of us. Columbia is gone, yet the astronauts' legacy lives on. They wish to serve and they did. Now it is our turn to serve. Columbia is gone, yet we anticipate that NASA will be double its space exploration with all the benefits for mankind, for your work furthers medical research and the development of defense and weapons, thus healing and protecting all God's children.

The Lubavitch Orrabith continuously reminds us that our country, the United States of America, is a nation of deep faith and great kindness. I would like to thank NASA for allowing Ilan to carry a Torah scroll, which miraculously survived the concentration camps. In particular, I would like to thank NASA for allowing Ilan to make the Kiddush and keep the Sabbath. Last year Ilan Ramon turned to me with a question: "How does one mark the Sabbath in space with every 90 minutes another sunset, every ten and a half hours is a Sabbath, every 20 days Rosh Hashanah?" Jerusalem, we have a problem. So I had my homework to do. But Ilan taught us a powerful message: No matter how fast we're going, no matter how important our work, we need to pause and think about why we're here on Earth.

Today let every one of us do one extra kind deed in memory of Ilan, Rick, William, Michael, David, Kalpana and Laurel. This will serve as a powerful expression of our unity and resolve. This torch of unity will light up the darkness and usher in a new era, the long-awaited era of which the Bible speaks of, the era of redemption, the era of godliness and goodness, an era of peace. Shalom. May God bless America.

COL. JAMES HALSELL: A couple of nights ago I was sitting around the kitchen table in the home of Pam Melroy and her husband Chris. Susan Kilrain, a pilot of mine on a couple of our missions had flown in from Puerto Rico and we were sitting around the table and we were all grieving in our own way, but what we found was that talking, talking about our fallen friends, talking about what they had meant to us, swapping those stories was so, so great a tonic. Let me tell you those stories, some of them, now.

Rick Husband was the commander. Concerning his professional skills and his leadership abilities, you really only need to know two things: First, we recruited him into the Astronaut Office because of his wide-known reputation within the Air Force. Second, Rick was offered his own Shuttle command after only one flight as a pilot instead of the standard two; he was that good.

But Rick wrapped all this skill in a west Texas "ah, shucks" demeanor that totally represented his humility and his respect and his caring for everybody. That attitude set the tone for his entire crew. In the words of one of the Kennedy test team members, "They were the tightest-knit bunch we've ever seen and one of the best we ever launched."

Let me tell you about Rick's crewmates. Mike Anderson. Mike was the quiet, get-it-done professional. His calm confidence reflected an inner peace that came from somewhere deep within himself and his love for his family and his absolute belief in his God. The SPACEHAB team remembers that they respected Mike's natural leadership so much they worked doubly hard so that they might win his respect for them. Late in the mission, the SPACEHAB team got their answer. Mike took the time to write an e-mail from space thanking them for their tireless and outstanding support. Mike was a class act.

Laurel Clark. Laurel was meticulous and detail-oriented, but she balanced this intensity with an absolute unwillingness to start any meeting without giving you a hug or asking about your family or telling you, with pride, about hers. And she never ended the meeting without remembering to thank everybody there for what they were doing. If a member of her ground team was passing through town, she'd invite them over for a home-cooked meal. Laurel made everyone, regardless of where they ranked on the organizational structure and the organizational chart, she made them feel like a colleague and a co-conspirator for success.

Willie McCool. Laurel described Willie as an eight-year-old trapped in a ten-year-old's body. Now, partly this referred to the fact that Willie was -- had the genes from somewhere that made him look like a ten year old, his young appearance, but mainly it was a comment on Willie's almost boyish attitude about everything he did and everybody he met. He always exuded a positive and enthusiastic can-do spirit. When you were around Willie, you got the feeling that he knew just how lucky he was in both his work and his home life, and somehow that made you walk away feeling a little bit better about your life.

Ilan Ramon. His experiment trainers referred to Ilan as "the machine." Now, what this meant was he was so good, he could sit down with an experiment he'd never seen before, just ask a couple of quick questions to understand what the principles were and what they were trying to achieve, and he could run through the procedures absolutely correctly the first time and every time.

On this mission, Ilan was representing an entire country, Israel, and the aspirations of all persons of the Jewish faith. The weight of this responsibility would have burdened a lesser man, but Ilan always wore a smile that spoke of confidence in himself and in those upon whom he depended.

Kalpana Chawla, or as she thankfully let us call her "K.C." Many astronauts, I daresay most, deal with the pressure of the last few weeks before you launch by taking on this attitude of "please, just tell me only what I need to know and do it as quick as you possibly can." But not K.C. No detail was ever too small and no information was unworthy of her interest. K.C. was dogged in her preparation, but she was also good at cutting through that NASA technical jargon. She once summarized a half page of technical details on setting up an experiment as, "Oh, this little guy over here connects to that silly little tether over there."

Astronauts rate each other unofficially on their ability to be trusted with critical duties on orbit and the depth of their orbiter system's knowledge. On this scale, K.C. had developed into an astronaut every commander wanted.

Dave Brown. Dave probably didn't know this, but he was categorized with envy by his fellow astronauts into a very special group we call "the renaissance astronauts." You see, before he was an astronaut, Dave was a Navy fighter pilot, and before he was a naval aviator, he was a medical doctor, and before that, he was a national class gymnast and even a circus performer. Dave's theory about life was to have fun at everything he did and to do everything possible, and he did everything so well.

Dave was a wanna-be Steven Spielberg. He edited miles of camcorder tape that he took of his crew's activities and made them into very, very polished videos, music included. Every crew family will now cherish those videos forever.

Dave, K.C., Ilan, Willie, Laurel, Mike, Rick, losing you is one of the hardest blows we've ever suffered, but knowing you was and will always be one of our greatest treasures. Thank you for gracing our lives with your love and your friendship. We will never forget you.

GOV. JEB BUSH: They were supposed to return here. After orbiting the Earth for 16 days, after traveling more than six million miles, after seeing every corner of our beautiful world, they were supposed to return here. You, their co-workers, their colleagues, their friends, were ready to greet them with their families to congratulate them on their successful mission, to honor them as the newest standard bearers of the great American tradition of exploration and discovery of space. They were supposed to return here to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

We Floridians are so proud of this place, we're so proud that for four decades our astronauts have journeyed into the heavens from our beloved shores, and we are so proud that for nearly two decades we have welcomed our astronauts home again as one of the landing sites for the Space Shuttle Program. This place stood ready to welcome home seven new heroes last Saturday morning, but the men and women of Columbia did not return to us. Our entire nation grieves at their loss. Our prayers are with their families. And our prayers are also with you, you who shared with them the ancient dream of being one with the stars.

Who among us have never looked into the heavens on a starlit night lost in wonder of the vastness of space and the beauty in the stars? So too did the founders of our own democracy look to the stars for inspiration. In the summer of 1777 as the first American patriots fought for independence and liberty against the forces of tyranny, they needed a standard, a symbol, to rally the hearts of our people, and so in June of that year, the Continental Congress designed a flag, resolved, they said, that the flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be 13 stars white in a blue field representing a new constellation. That new constellation shines as brightly as ever today, now 50 stars strong. It commands the allegiance of 280 million Americans who lowered their star-spangled banner to half-mast in honor of their lost countrymen.

This nation under God still looks heavenward, looking no longer for the return of those whom we have lost but to God himself. Just as an old childless man did many centuries ago, the Book of Genesis tells us that Abraham, patriarch of the three great faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, was lost in despair one night. Abraham doubted whether God's promise of a son, an heir, would ever come true. But the Lord took Abraham outside his tent and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars, if indeed you can count them." The old man looked up, and the Lord said, "So shall be your offspring be." Since that night, the children of Abraham, by blood and by faith, have looked up to the stars and seen in them the boundless expanse of God's blessing and providence and we have been comforted knowing that even in the midst of despair and darkness God is with us, and with God there is light.

And so men and women of the Kennedy Space Center, let us grieve together, but let us also share hope. Let us share the hope that when we look to the stars, we will see in them a reminder of the heroes who dared to travel among them. Let us cherish the hope that those men and women we lost will inspire us and our children for generations to come. Let us nurture the hope that our seven astronauts, Rick Husband, David Brown, Michael Anderson, Laurel Salton Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Ilan Ramon and Willie McCool, will forever be united in our hearts, not only united for 16 days as a team on a mission to the stars, but also united as a constellation of stars in the annals of space exploration and discovery.

May God bring them to him. My God be with their families and friends, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. Thank you.

PASTOR MALCOLM WILD: It was my privilege to meet Commander Rick Husband and his family as they came to worship with us at Calvary Chapel in Merritt Island. And it's meeting people like him that makes me proud to be a part of this great nation. I'd like to read to you from the Scriptures of the Book of Revelations: "And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying behold a tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them and be their God, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There shall be no more death, no sorrow, no crying. There shall be no more pain for the former things have passed away. And he who sat on the throne said behold, I make all things new. And he said to me right, for these words are true and faithful and he said to me it is done, I am the Alpha, the Omega, the beginning and the end, and I give the fountain of the waters of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things and I will be his God and he shall be my son."

Let's bow our hearts before the Lord in a moment of prayer. Oh Lord, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the Earth who have set your glory above the heavens. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the Moon and the stars which you've ordained, what is manned that is mindful of him in the son of man that you visit him.

Heavenly Father, when we look up at your glorious creation, we can feel so insignificant and yet you have visited us and you've shown us your great love. By your grace, we have discovered so much and we're thankful for courageous men and women who have given their lives to leaders in those discoveries, yet we are once again reminded there is so much we do not understand. We realize now we see through a glass darkly.

Dear Lord, we need all of this, your comfort and your strength at this difficult time. We ask that you especially continue to be with the dear family members who have lost their loved ones. And you who measure the waters in the hollow of your hand, you who measure the heavens with the span and calculated the dust of the Earth in a measure, you who count the number of the stars and call them all by name, we ask you to heal the brokenhearted and to bind up their wounds in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and our God and Father who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace comfort your hearts and establish you in every good work and word.