Thursday, February 21, 2013

Does It Matter Where the Rockets Come Down?

Some years Lent and its purposeful reflection sends me down some odd rabbit holes. This year I'm pondering to what extent we take our Sunday morning faith into the rest of the week - I mean - do we live into being a disciple of Jesus away from church? And does it matter?

I'm intrigued by the life of Wernher von Braun. Wernher wasthe central figure of the German rocket program from the 1930's until the end of World War II. A real life rocket scientist, perhaps the greatest one in history. He developed the V-2 rocket, built with workers from concentration camps, and more than 3,000 were fired upon England and Belgium during the last 18 months of that war. After the war, he was whisked to the United States along with several members of his team. His history was whitewashed, and we put him to work. Designing ICBMs. And later, the Saturn 5 rocket that took our astronauts to the moon. It's fair to say we might not have made that trip without him.

Tom Lehrer
Wernher was contrite about his past later in life, resulting in some revisionism. In his recollection of the day of the first successful firing of a V-2 at England he quoted himself as saying "The rocket worked perfectly except for landing on the wrong planet." Nice one, Wernher. He described himself as apolitical, and cared more about designing rockets than what they were used for. He was famously spoofed in the mid 1960s by satirist Tom Lehrer in his song "Wernher von Braun" which included the lyrics: "Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down; That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun."


But, it IS our department, isn't it? We can't hold the moral high ground for an hour a week and put it away for the rest of it. If discipleship means anything, it means this: That we live our whole lives as followers and disciples of Jesus, and whole means not just all of us, but all of our time.

Some of us seem to have built a partition that we hide behind, disconnecting our professed faith from how we actually lead our lives. This Lenten season, I am being intentional about not doing that. The mantra I repeat to myself (and I invite you to say to yourself) is:

"I DO care where the rockets come down."

All the time.

Every day.