Is there any hope in this vase universe?
It is a truly terrifying prospect, of drifting away, alone and defenceless, into the vastness of space, with no hope of recovery. I had to hold firmly onto my seat as wearing 3D glasses, we watched “Gravity” (12A) at the Odeon in Liverpool One on Monday.
Obviously I won’t give the plot, just to say it is how a pair of astronauts, played by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, are stranded in space after an accident.
You must watch this remarkable film by Mexican director, Alfonso Cuaron, in a 3D cinema. Truly memorable, in the same class of Stanley Kubrick’s epic “2001: A Space Odyssey.” There are many parallels, not least in the spiritual dimension, the sense that an allegory is being played out as human beings seek to venture into the silence of darkest space. There is so much beauty. Some of views of earth below are truly stunning. But also a sense of menace. Through technological expertise human beings can break free from the law of gravity but there is no escaping Murphy’s law. If things can go wrong, they will go wrong– at the worse possible time. In which case, why do we hold on to hope so tightly? Why do we hold on so tenaciously to life when faced with certain doom? Is there hope in a hopeless situation? Fundamentally, are we alone in this vast universe? Dr Ryan Stone, played so brilliantly by Bullock, faces certain death, not in some indeterminate future but within an hour. She wants to pray but she doesn’t know how. One verse kept coming to mind, from Psalm 139. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”
It was Albert Einstein who concluded that the most important question a person can ask is, "Is the Universe a friendly place?” “If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”
Yes, life can be frightening and we will often sense our vulnerability and be only too aware of our own mortality. But the Maker of the heavens and the earth is for us. So as the nights draw in and the cold seeps in to our homes, the good news is Emmanuel, God is with us. And in a way we could never ever imagine!
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”