We Can’t Get There From Here

All this Palestinian girl wants is a chance to go to university, get an education and have opportunities like other kids her age. Is that too much to ask? No. It’s not too much; but it’s more than she is likely to get.

He is hoping that perhaps conversation, compromise, striking some deals and time might be a straighter avenue toward peace than silence, sanctions and bombs. Is he a dreamer, or is his intuition correct? There is good reason to doubt, even by his own admission, that President Obama or anyone else can really trust the Iranians … but is this worth a try? Yes. It’s worth a try; but it probably won’t broker any new, lasting peace in the mid-East.

After nine years and three billion miles NASA’a New Horizon spacecraft has achieved a fly-by of the dwarf planet Pluto and its moons. What will we learn from the photos and information that come back to us? We will learn something about the origins of our universe. Is it worth the time, effort and money? Absolutely; but it won’t get that Palestinian girl what she wants and it won’t bring us any closer to the peace we yearn for.

I’m not sure which is the more amazing – all the places we are able to get to both on the microscopic and cosmic levels, or all the places we can’t get to, even though they stare us right in the face. Accessibility has nothing to do with size or molecular complexity. It has everything to do with politics, self-interest and willpower. We have to accept the harsh fact that we would rather send a spacecraft to Pluto than a Palestinian refugee to university.

Scientists  at Mission Control in Maryland broke out into cheers on Monday morning, marking the moment New Horizon made its close encounter. Chills ran up and down my spine. It is nothing short of awesome, nothing less than fantabulous where we can go and what we are willing to do to get there. But a friend just learned she has breast cancer; young people don’t have jobs; refugees lack such basics as food and shelter to say nothing of a meaningful future. We cry out with joy while simultaneously we weep in frustration and wonder if ever there will be healing for our wounds. What an interesting species we are.

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims God’s handiwork. So proclaims the Psalmist (Psalm 19). It’s just occurring to me how prescient is the juxtaposition of that first verse with the final one – Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer.

Yup. The heavens are living up to their potential! And good for us for taking the time to catch a glimpse of it. If we humans could just live up to our own potential – not just for traversing the far reaches of the solar system, but for recognizing the divine handiwork in each other – That’s what it is going to take to get us from here to there.


Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.