I’m sure we’ve all be following the adventures of Major Tim Peake, the British astronaut who is currently on the International Space Station and is about to become the first Britain to do a spacewalk. I loved hearing on the news about when he first went up into space and called his parents, only to get their answer machine because they were out. I bet that message will never been deleted. And then how he tried to call his parents again only to dial the wrong number! That’s one wrong number call you wouldn’t have a problem getting isn’t it?
Anyway, today (Friday 15 January 2016) Major Peake and Colonel Kopra will step out into space to fix a failed electrical component at the far end of the Space Station. The task can only take 90 minutes to complete as the ISS takes that time to orbit the Earth, so the astronauts will experience 45 minutes of daylight followed by 45 minutes of total darkness. Peake and Kopra can only work on the electrical unit in darkness, because in daylight, there could be a current running through the box and it would therefore, electrocute them. Colonel Kopra will head out of the Quest airlock first; laying down anchor points on the outside of the ISS. The US astronaut will then give a "Go" signal and Major Peake will follow his colleague, carrying the replacement box. But I know that they won’t be doing this on their own. I know that their colleagues on the space station and possibly at the Space centre here on earth will be helping and advising them all the way. It will be a team effort. And will need to be, as very lives depend on it.
This week coming is the Week for Christian Unity. This is week when we can really concentrate our prayers of unity within the church so that we can be more effective in kingdom building. Jesus said in John 13:34-35, “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” He wasn’t speaking to everyone here; he was speaking to his disciples – his team. He was saying to them if you can’t work and love each other as my followers then you have no hope of being effective in building my kingdom and very lives depend on you!
This year we are given the opportunity to reflect upon our Christian vocation to be salt and light, to be one in Christ, and to work together in service to our local community and to the world. Salt and light are the very things that as human beings we cannot live without, and therefore without the Gospel, without the promise of the good news of God’s love in Christ, the world is lost. We can only help save the world by coming together as God’s church and holding each other up in prayer and support.
Like Major Tim Peake we are on a mission – not just to fix a faulty electrical component – but to save the world! And as Major Tim will rely on his colleagues for advice and support, so we rely on God’s family to build each other up so we can help bring the essentials of life in its fullness to a world in darkness.