Here is my latest ‘Credo’ article for the Newark Advertiser, published today.
In April 1961 cosmonaut Uri Gagarin became the first man to go into space. He reached a height of around 300 km, did one orbit of the earth and then descended to Earth.
Just one month later President John F. Kennedy gave a speech to the U.S. congress when he spelled out a vision: that before the end of the decade the United States would send a man to the moon and return him safely to Earth. The moon is over a thousand times further than Gagarin had just reached in his earth orbit. The president could not possibly have known in detail how his vision could be achieved, but he was prepared to set out this challenge for his nation.
Just over 8 years later the Apollo 11 mission made Kennedy’s dream a reality. We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the day that Neil Armstrong took that historic ‘small step’ onto the moon’s surface. Tragically, of course, Kennedy didn’t live to see his vision fulfilled. But, with the huge resources of NASA (including 400,000 people), vast amounts of money and computing power less than in a current mobile phone what had seemed impossible had been achieved.
God has a habit of asking people to do what seems impossible too. Whilst the Israelites were captive in Egypt he spoke to Moses and said to him:
“Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country.”
But Moses said to God, “I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3)
With the huge resources of having God on his side Moses did of course deliver what God had asked him to do.
None of us is ever likely to be required to undertake an historic space exploration mission, nor will we be expected to liberate a nation. But I do believe that God has things that he does want each one of us to do in order that the world can become a better place, that his ‘kingdom [shall] come, on Earth as it is in heaven’ (as the Lord’s Prayer puts it.)
There’s another story about President Kennedy and the space programme:
Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor, a caretaker, who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA.
“I’m helping put a man on the moon” the janitor replied. And he was right.
We may feel that we have nothing to offer to God, that anything we might be able to do is so insignificant as to be worthless. But every one of us, in our small way, is helping to bring about God’s vision of His kingdom on earth.