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Praying on Mars

There is a line in the Good Book that speaks about God’s desire for us to seek for him: ‘God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.’ God doesn’t force relationship on us. That would not be love. But he reveals himself in his Word and world, and especially through his Son, and longs for us to reach and seek and find.

I wish Mark Watney had known that. Mark Watney is the NASA astronaut in Andy Weir’s popular novel, The Martian, who is accidently left behind on Mars. A freak storm has hit the red planet, causing the Ares crew to abort their mission and head for home. Mistakenly they think that Watney has been killed in the storm, and unfortunately the storm has knocked out all communication with them and with Houston; and Watney in a desperately lonely moment cries out: “Jesus Christ, I’d give anything for a five minute conversation with anyone. Anyone, anywhere. About anything.”

Wow, what a sentence. If he had said, “Dear Jesus Christ”, I might have thought that it was a prayer. But having used Jesus’ name already in the book as a space-filling word of frustration, I knew that Watney was not the praying type. Which is a pity really. If he was, the answer might have been: “Well, you can talk to Me.”

DM 27th December 2015


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