Friday, February 10, 2012


(note: this was originally podcast in 2005)
podcast version

As I wrote this, space enthusiasts around the world are waiting to hear the fate of Cosmos 1, the first attempt to launch a solar sail powered spacecraft. The prognosis isn't looking too good right now. Almost no communications have been received since launch. Most evidence points to a failed launch - at best a lower orbit than planned. This exciting project used a decommissioned Soviet missile as a launch vehicle and was run by a combination of international teams headed by the Planetary Society. They are pioneering the most efficient technology we know to head out to the planets, and the best to get to the stars!

However, first we have to get the project under way, first we have to - literally - get it off the ground. (Well, okay, off the water - they used a sub to launch the rocket.)

vaj the mIgh DIchDaq ghobe' Qam Daq the yoj
Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment Psalm 1:5

Those words in Psalm 1 speak of "getting off the ground," too. We hear that the wicked shall not Qam or stand (the Hebrew word is quwm which means 'to rise.') In other words, we're talking about rising up, taking one's place: taking a stand. This verse echoes the beginning of the psalm, where we heard that a blessed person won't hang around with the wicked, won't "stand in the way of sinners." Now we hear that - ultimately - the wicked won't stand either. That is, they will not be able to stand alongside the blessed, or be accepted Daq the tay' ghotpu' vo' the QaQtaHghach, "in the congregation of the righteous."

In another psalm we hear the question:

Who may ascend to the LORD’s hill?
Who may stand in his holy place? Psalm 24:3

Who indeed? If we wish to lift off, to rise up before the Lord, and following him to sail beyond merely the planets and the stars, then I think the Psalmist is directing to consider what stand we take in our lives today. We can't do it ourselves. Just as a spacecraft can't get into orbit without a sufficient booster - our ability alone won't lift us up to stand in the judgment.

St. Paul notes this, quoting the Hebrew scriptures, when he wrote to the Ephesians:
That is why the Scriptures say,
'When he ascended to the heights,
he led a crowd of captives
and gave gifts to his people.'

Paul goes on to say:

Notice that it says 'he ascended.'

This means that Christ first came down to the lowly world in which we
live. The same one who came down is the one who ascended higher than
all the heavens, so that his rule might fill the entire universe. Eph 4:8-10 NLT

If you want to rise up, to take your stand with the one whose rule fills the universe - you'll need to follow the advice of Psalm 1: Avoid accepting, and participating with what is wrong. Give your time and attention to the scriptures that tell us what is right.

But your effort isn't enough. We need to accept the gift, the grace of the one who can make us stand, and lift us higher than all the heavens.

Are you ready for liftoff?

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