If you have been around Transitions for the past several years, you know that I am a nut for astronauts and the early space programs, dating back to the Mercury astronauts and the first manned flights back in the early 1960’s. And one of my most memorable recollections is Feb. 20, 1962, the day after my 9th birthday, 52 years ago today. Because that was the morning that John Glenn rocketed into space about an Atlas rocket, in a capsule named Friendship 7 in honor of the Mercury astronauts, originally scheduled for 7 orbits of the earth.
Unfortunately, due to several problems aboard his spacecraft, he returned to earth after three orbits and the first time that there was the real potential for a crisis in American space flight. Since then we have lost astronauts, both on the ground and in the air, but at that time, there was a wave of patriotism and everyone hung on every word about space.
I won’t bore you with all the details of the preparation or the flight, as I did that two years ago in my post for Feb. 20th. You can go online and look up, “Godspeed, John Glenn” in the TBTB archives if you want to search for and read that post. But the thing that I remember as much as the flight is that I got to watch TV early that morning with my Dad. He knew how much I loved spaceflight and each time a launch was scheduled, he woke me up, got a cup of coffee and sat with me – in his maroon robe and brown leather slippers.
I cherished those times with my Dad. It was one of the things that we did together – watching Walter Cronkite and Frank McGee broadcast all the facts and trivia on the astronauts each time one of the Mercury 7 went up into space. Back in the day, there was quite some discussion over who would be first into space. Alan Shepherd got that honor, followed by Gus Grissom, but John Glenn was the first one to orbit the planet. Boy, how I loved those flights. In fact, I wanted to be an astronaut. That never came to be – in fact, I never even learned how to fly, but how I remember those early mornings with my Dad.
The verse for this evening is Deut. 4:19, ” And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.” As beautiful as the stars and the sky are, we are reminded that they are not to be worshipped, only the One who created them. My encouragement this evening is to remind you that we serve an awesome God who created all that we see, and a whole lot more. My prayer is that while we will never understand the magnitude of God, we can appreciate the things that He has created for us. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…