Minister’s Reflection – July 18, 2019
Rev. Dave Crawford
“A World United”
I wish I could say “I remember where I was when….” but I can’t. Fifty years ago this coming Saturday I was five years old. I have no memory of watching Walter Cronkite anchor the broadcast of the first human beings to step on the Moon’s surface. I don’t remember hearing for the first time Neil Armstrong’s famous words, “That’s one small step for (a) man. One giant leap for mankind.” Some of you likely do remember, remember it all! Some 600 million people watched the event unfold on their mostly black and white 1969-era tvs. You may have been one of them.
I think it was Buzz Aldrin who recounted an unusual chat he had with a European tourist in America, attending one of those massive celebration parades, soon after Apollo 11 returned to earth. The woman kept saying to him “We did it. We did it.!”, which reminded Aldrin of the profoundly obvious – despite the planting of an American flag on the Moon it was indeed the human race as a whole that achieved the incredible feat! It was much larger, more broadly experienced than in America alone. Across the globe human beings of all languages, colors and cultures rejoiced in Apollo 11’s magnificent success.
In our present context, 2019, it seems unity is hard to come by, provincially, federally, internationally, politically, culturally, religiously. What could possibly gather the world together under one banner these days?
I have no idea, truly, but I do believe God not only desires growth in human cooperation, community, and harmony, I believe God’s Spirit persists in actively seeking transformation of the human spirit, not coercively or forcefully, but, as always, mysteriously, creatively, and still, powerfully. We Christians have traditionally sought to balance the ideas of providence and free will as we work out our own faith life, and at times (perhaps times like ours) the way forward seems uncertain at best, frightening at worst. Yet the light always exposes and eliminates the darkness, doesn’t it? (John 1:3-5)
Where are the prophets of holiness in our era? How do we discern them, listen for them, identify and join them? Who are the leaders, what are the causes which arouse deeper truths among all peoples regardless of race or language or hemisphere? How is God working among us and within the human condition to bring about that greater vision Jesus called the “kingdom”, the particular traits of which we may not yet be able to identify?
Lincoln’s greatness arose out of the national American quagmire of slavery, its inhumanity, injustice, and cruelty, and many dark years of civil strife. Churchill’s brilliant leadership was forged in the crucible of so many Nazi military successes in the early years of W.W. 2 and the bombings of London. And in both cases a kind of broadly embraced unity emerged for the sake of goodness and justice. Surely, as people of hope we must believe the Spirit of God continues to poke and prod his/her children to seek the good, the just, the merciful and holy.
It must have been exhilarating, intensely inspiring to watch that first lunar landing on July 20th, 1969. The human race despite all its problems unified as one! We pray and hope for a similar coming together, for we know by faith that with God all things are possible!
“For God so loved the world…” – John 3:16, first phrase.