Letter from St Mark's House

St Mark's House

October - November 2021

Dear friends 

How would you like to win a charity raffle ticket for a three-day space flight orbiting the earth at 357 miles altitude? Billionaire Musk's SpaceX Dragon, dubbed Inspiration4, launched on September 16th and returned on the 19th with four passengers in an automated capsule completely controlled by computers on earth and no professional astronaut on board. The world's first 'amateur astronaut' crew to orbit Earth included the youngest in space (age 29) and first with a prosthesis - a childhood cancer survivor with a titanium rod in her leg. But what motives drive Inspiration4? The billionaire on board said, ‘We're not going to do this if we cannot make a huge difference for the problems the world is faced with today’. But behind these aspirations is a mammoth battle to open up space tourism for the richest on Earth and compete for plans to give political advantage over opponents on our globe.                                                                                                              
Is tourism and rivalry for claiming territory on heavenly bodies going to bring improvements for humankind when we haven't done a very good job of it on our earthly one? Sir David Attenborough's film A Life On Our Planet states his grief and documents the devastating effects of humanity’s adverse impact on our changing planet. As we look to the stars and beyond, can we have a clear earthly perspective on what we've done to our planet? If, with increasing wars on earth and the rise and fall of nations, we have not found lasting peace, how can we achieve any peaceful balance in space and not destruct the planets with our 'Star Wars'? 

Elon Musk responds by celebrating his human achievement: Inspiration4. In contrast, David, the poor shepherd boy who became Israel's greatest king, looked into the same heavens and said to the God who created them, ‘You see me when I travel...you know everything I do. I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave you are there. If I ride the wings of morning, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.’ (Psalm 139) David found inspiration knowing that, as he said, ‘God reached down from heaven and rescued me: he led me to a place of safety because he delights in me’. (Psalm 18) We now know that David’s inspiration can be ‘inspiration 4 you’ because of the gift that God gives through His Son Jesus who reached down from heaven to rescue us. Riding in Space X Dragon for three days relying on remote controls required faith. David knew that the safest place to put his trust for all time was in the hand of God who loved him and was with him always. That is an inspiration for us, too.   

Travelling and trusting 

Nick and Harriet