In the recent movie, “The Martian,” there is not much overt religion. At one point, somewhat apologetically, the main character, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) has to resort to using a wooden crucifix to start a fire. It gives a different twist to the idea, “Jesus saves.” But otherwise there is really not much of a religious nature in the movie. Then, Watney faces the most traumatic devastation of the entire movie. I won’t give away any of the details, but at this, the lowest point in the narrative, Watney cries out one word, “God.” It is a moment of ultimate terror. And that is the one word that is said. There could have been other words – the f-word, for instance. But the word used for the nadir of human experience is God.
Whether we are religious or not, there is a human sensibility to something beyond. Something more than. Something greater than we ourselves, yet within us. Humans fundamentally have a connection to a larger reality. And at the height of elation, such as at the birth of a baby, and at the depth of the most devastating tragedy, we intersect with this greater reality. This something more. This mystery within and beyond. And many of us name this God.
As we think of our deep desire for peace, as we become desperate for peace in the face of heinous violence, we know that we must connect this longing with something greater than ourselves yet within us. The moment when we have no choice but to cry out, “God,” is the moment we may find a deeper connection to peace.
Is there a time when your feelings were so intense you felt the power, the mystery, the beyond of God? What was that like for you?
Prayer: While we may cry out to God in the extreme experiences of our lives, we pray that we remember that our connection to the Divine, the power and peace of God, is there all the time. May we learn to trust that connection day in and day out so that we may know greater peace and be agents of peace in the world. Amen.