Last Saturday, I watched the blast off of the Space X rocket and the space capsule carrying two American astronauts. This caused a flood of memories. A big part of my childhood was dedicated to watching increasingly powerful American rockets take astronauts on ever more challenging space missions. In that era, the American space program was aiming at the moon. This journey into space expanded our horizons and gave us hope for a glorious future where almost anything seemed possible.
About the same time that the Space X capsule reached orbit on Saturday, my mind turned to other memories of my youth in the ‘60’s. That time of manned space flights was, like today, a time of great social unrest. It seemed that rockets could conquer space, but the hopelessness of the problems on earth eclipsed those incredible achievements. 1968 marked the launches of Apollo 7 and Apollo 8 which set the stage for the flight to the moon in 1969. But life on earth at that time was marred by a series of horrific events, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. Social unrest spilled into the streets of America over those deaths and the ongoing trauma of the Vietnam War. As a youth I not only thrilled to the launch of American astronauts, but I was fearful as I watched news stories about those assassinations. In my mind, I can still see the riots in the streets
of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention. There were terrifying scenes of police and protestors fighting. I was afraid to leave my house.
It seems like space flights and civil unrest have been joined together once again. Like you, I had hoped we were getting beyond such things. But once again, I’m a little afraid to leave my house. During the quarantine due to the Corona Virus, I have been reading Walter Bruggeman’s Theology of the Old Testament, a 700-page challenge. In this book, Bruggeman suggests that the formation of the Hebrew Scriptures came at possibly the worst time in Hebrew history-- the Babylonian conquering of Israel. It was during this time of capture, subjection, and exile that the hard work of what it means to be the “people of God” took place and became an enduring source of hope. As Christians, we know that beneath the terrible realities of human history there is always that faint glimmer of hope. More often
than not, this hope manifests itself in new and powerful ways. The job of people of faith is live in this hope while waiting and watching for the next opportunity to act for God’s Kingdom.
To get ready for Sunday, read this scripture:
Hebrews 11:1-2 The Message (MSG)
Faith in What We Don’t See
11 1-2 The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
Your True Friend,