Thursday, November 13, 2014

Landing our Lives upon the Way of Christ

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission was able to land their Philae lander on the surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko yesterday. Amazing! Sounds like the stuff of fairy tales: Like hoping on a shooting star to catch a ride to Saturn... or at least it seems that way to me.

There are so many cool facts about this Rosetta mission: The comet itself is almost three miles long and two miles wide. It is flying through space at about 40,000 miles/hour. It's a problem for an AP Physics exam: How do you shoot an object from Earth into a comet moving that fast in the weightlessness of space? How do you get that object to slow down enough to perform a soft landing upon that comet? I guess there's a little bit of AP Calculus in there as well.

Another cool fact is that the weight of the Philae lander is only 1 gram on the comet. Their's just not much holding that thing on that comet. But I think the coolest fact of them all is that the Philae lander landed on about an inch and a half of some sort of dust. I'm just trying to think of this cosmic dust laying on the surface of this comet. How does it not blow off? Is it because there is no wind? I better go see the movie Interstellar. Wow.

This becomes a bit of a Psalm 8 moment for me: our wonderful You're-awesome-God-and-we-are-too psalm. "Lord, oh Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth! You made your glory higher than the heaven!" But don't forget us humans: Way to go guys! You landed that thing. "What are human beings that you think about them; what are human beings that you pay attention to them? You've made them only slightly less than divine, crowning them with glory and grandeur (Psalm 8:4-5)." God, you sure have crowned those know-it-alls at the European Space Agency with glory and grandeur.

In someways though, the know-it-alls have it easy. Crank out enough physics and calculus equations and boy look what you can achieve. Get the right engineers on board and you can actually build something that's gonna work. Yes, there are failures, like Virgin Galactic's crash last month, but we dust ourselves off and move ahead.

In matters of faith and the spirit, it doesn't play out quite as easily as rocket science. For as tough as that level of science can be, aiming for the life of Jesus Christ, and embracing the abundant life Jesus died on the cross to give us, can become so much more difficult. Instead of working harder, the way of Christ is about surrendering. Instead of creating bigger, better equations, the way of Christ challenges us to the simplicity found in child, even as we mature in faith.

Navigating the narrow way of Christ... landing upon the speeding comet of living faith... means getting back to the basics of who you are as creature. The calc problems we work on are the spiritual exercises of prayer and meditation, generosity and rest. Landing our lives upon the way of Christ then leads to the truth found in another Psalm. Living with, in and for Christ: "They are like a tree replanted by streams of water, which bears fruit at just the right time and whose leaves don't fade. Whatever they do succeeds (Psalm 1:3)."

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