Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Martian

I've always loved space travel. Not that I've actually done it, of course. But it has always fascinated me, and as a kid I dreamed that I would go one day. As a 10-year-old, I followed closely as NASA fought to get Apollo 13 home. And I thought sure I would be the first man on Mars. So that's why I was so excited to see The Martian.  

It was a fantastic movie, living up to the book by Andy Weir. There were so many things I loved about it. But I think there were three reasons that it resonated so deeply.
  1. It was based on science that seemed to be actually achievable in our lifetime, rather than being fantasy space movies like Star Wars and Star Trek (which I also love). If NASA were to get the funding to send someone to Mars, this is about how they would do it. So it reminded me of how I loved space travel as a child.
  2. It involved going to Mars, which, as I said, was a childhood dream.
  3. It was built around a rescue mission, with similarities to the real-life drama of Apollo 13. 
For those of you who don't know the premise, here's a trailer:

There were two strong themes that ran through the movie. First, there was the human spirit shown by astronaut Mark Watley (Matt Damon), who was trapped alone on Mars with no apparent prospect of escape. He proclaimed with determination, "I'm not going to die her." Then, there was the incredible teamwork back on earth (including multiple countries) and from the crew of his ship. So many people working overtime, racking their brains, investing unbelievably expensive resources, with the goal of saving one life.

Those two themes seem, at first glance, to conflict. A movie about individual determination, but also about working together and realizing you can't make it on your own. And yes, both are true.

This is the same apparent - but not actual - paradox we see in the 6th chapter of Paul's letter to the Galatians. In verse 2, he writes, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." And then, just two sentences later (verse 5), he says, "For each one will have to bear his own burden."


Yep, it's true. In the movie, Watley had to take responsibility for his own survival. He had to grow food, chemically manufacture water, and use every resource available. But none of that would have meant anything if there weren't others taking responsibility for his rescue. Similarly, as I follow Jesus I have to take responsibility for my growth. I need to pray, study the Bible, and apply its principles to my daily live. But God didn't just called individuals; he has always been calling a people to be his. I can't do it on my own. I need brothers and sisters walking beside me, praying for me, holding me accountable, and enjoying God's creation with me.

So yes, both are true.

I'm glad God loves me personally, individually. And I'm glad he has called a people to be his and by having faith in Jesus I can be part of it. I pray that I will carry my burden in a way that glorifies him. And I pray that I will help my brothers and sisters bear theirs.

Will you join me?

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