Thursday, April 3, 2014

Learning From Gravity

submitted by Kerry Patton

Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.   Matthew 6:9-13

In the 2013 science fiction thriller and space drama film Gravity (PG-13), Astronauts Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) and Matt Lowalski (played by George Clooney) are on a routine space shuttle mission to conduct repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope when something occurs (which I won’t go into here), causing their lives to be suddenly cast into grave danger.  You’ll have to see the movie to learn what happens if you are interested. 
I mention the film to draw your attention to a scene late in the film where it is apparent to Bullock’s character that she is out of options.  She is about to die…like, in a matter of a few minutes, her life will in fact be over.

During those very difficult moments, as the revelation of her seemingly imminent death is dawning on her, Astronaut Stone laments out loud:

"Nobody will mourn for me," she tells herself. "Nobody will pray for my soul." And then she admits, "I've never said a prayer in my life. Nobody ever taught me how."

I recall being caught up in the moment with Bullock’s character in those moments and thinking not only what a shame it would be to reach the end of my life and realize that I were so isolated by a lack of family or friends that no one would really morn me, further, to realize in that moment that no one would be praying for me…for my salvation…  How very, very tragic. 

Then the most pitiful line is spoken by Ms. Stone: “I’ve never said a prayer in my life.  Nobody ever taught me how.”

Two statements:
1.    I’ve never said a prayer in my life.  And
2.    Nobody ever taught me how to pray.  Wow!

Admitting to ourselves that Gravity is only a work of fiction and film, of sight and sound…I have to also admit that it is a reality that there are those around us who are very isolated in life.  Perhaps they are completely caught up in their profession, surrounded by people, but devoid of any real intimacy in friendship or fellowship.  No remaining family, no tight circle of friends. They exist in a world where it might truly seem that should they suddenly be absent, no one would notice.

Further, there exist everywhere around us more persons than we would care to count who when their world suddenly intersects with crisis, they haven’t a clue on how to cry out to God for help.  Why?  Because it is likely they have never prayed.  No one has ever taught them how to pray.  No one…has taught them to pray.

Is this not also the urgency of the Cross of our Lord Jesus?  Is this not also a portrait of why we are here on this earth?  To let people know that they matter.  To let them know that they are NOT alone…more specifically, that WE are there for them.  That we love them, and overarchingly, there is a God in Heaven who loves them, who has made a way for them to be with Him through his Son Jesus.  And that they can communicate with him, love him, and be loved by Him. 

Are we not here…to reach them… to teach them?

Almighty God, I am so thankful that you use every day things like movies to show us the importance of really loving others.  I am thankful for being reminded that simple things like prayer…something that I take so for granted…may well be alien to my neighbor.  I respond with “Yes.”  I do take up the responsibility for teaching my neighbor to pray…that God loves them and Jesus has paid the price for them. Give me courage, boldness, and the gentle presence of your timing and words to tell them.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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