Saturday, December 3, 2016

Astronaut James Irwin had it right!

As a young pastor I invited Colonel Irwin to visit our city and share his testimony with our church and nearby John Brown University.  Before leaving Colonel Irwin presented me with a photograph which reflected his perspective on life.

The photo (see below) showed him standing on the moon saluting the American flag with the lunar module in the background.  Beneath the picture he wrote these words:
“God walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon.”

"God walking on the earth is
more important than man walking
on the moon."  James Irwin, Apollo 15
A lot of significant things are happening in our world right now.  The election of Donald Trump--a man who has never served in political office--as the forty-fifth president of the United States is perhaps unparalleled in modern politics.  Who knows what changes are in store for the U.S. as he assumes office?

Brexit may be the British parallel to Mr. Trump’s election to the presidency.  As Britain pulls out of the European Union who knows what that will mean for Great Britain or Europe for that matter?

Change is a constant.  Every so often, though, disruptive changes happen and set the world on a new course.

Next year, 2017, will be a year of disruptive change for UBA.  We may sell our building.  Some long-time members of our staff will transition to part-time status.  New folks will join our staff.  Who knows what else may be in store?

As I reflect on all that is before us, I find comfort in Christmas and Colonel Irwin’s words.  Man’s journey to the moon was disruptive change.  (I wish I had time to list the myriad of things that changed in our world because we journeyed to the moon.)

But nothing that happened then or since is as important as what happened two millennia ago when a baby was born in Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, attended by livestock, serenaded by angels and visited by magi.  That was the penultimate disruptive change, one so significant that we adjusted our calendar to show that it was the point in human history where everything pivoted.  (I say penultimate disruptive change because I believe there is one more in store for us when Jesus returns.  But that’s another story.)

You were right, Colonel Irwin.  There have been some significant moments in human history, but none as significant as the one we celebrate every Christmas.

From all of us at UBA, Merry Christmas.

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