Space rocket take off
18 May 2021


5,4,3,2,1 we have lift off.

I remember watching rocket launches on TV as kid – seeing this majestic white rocket with the words “NASA” on the side. The rocket took off into the sky and I was amazed at how it would go up into outer space.

The excitement of the launch with smoke trailing behind the rocket, and the sheer power were an amazing site to watch. In the age before the internet as we know it and with my young creative mind firing away, I asked myself a question; “How will they get back?”

These astronauts have gone all the way to outer space, but how will they get back to earth?

There’s a process

Getting back to earth involves a process, they get into a space capsule and this is sent slowly away from the space station. This then moves away and starts the process of heading back. Lots of checks are made and working with gravity the descent continues,

The re-entry burn is a four minute burn designed to slow the spacecraft down.

NASA Space Centre

The re-entry can be bumpy as the capsule comes back into the earth’s atmosphere, As the capsule heads back down a parachute is deployed to slow the re-entry and eventually it lands.

Where are we?

I was thinking about this image regarding church. Where are we as we look forward to re-entering life after lockdown?

We might want to go back to where we first took off? We might want to go back and ignore that there have been any changes? We might not want to go back? We may not know how to get back? We may look to God to lead and guide us?

The church calendar has us post-Easter and anticipating Pentecost. In the book of Acts at this point, we see the early Christians felt confused at this time.

Jesus had died, risen again and ascended to heaven. What were they to do now? How could they navigate this new ground? Maybe they could have come up with a 10 point plan for the future? A 5 year growth plan? A change-management course?

The helper

They encountered the help of the Holy Spirit:

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:7 (NIVUK)

The early church encountered the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and he changed their lives. He equipped them for re-entry. He gave them power, to pray, to heal, to preach and to see revival come. 

May we look to the Holy Spirit to empower us for re-entry as we re-engage in the work of His kingdom and for His glory. May God guide us as we look to Him. 

Pastor Clive Parnell

Photo: Reuters/Joe Skipper

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