"Out with the old, in with the new!"
We've done it so often, it's just something you do.
So each year we begin with a firm resolution,
With hope it will bring us some new restitution,
Some way to redeem what the old year has lost
Some way to find joy without a great cost. jb
43 years ago, 2001: A Space Odyssey showed us what happens when a computor, HAL by name, malfunctions and takes over a space exploration mission, resulting in the loss of life among the spaceship's crew. On a sequel 26 years ago, 2010: The Year We Make Contact, another expedition is launched to discover what had happened on the first one. HAL is reactivated, this time resulting again in loss of life, but with a revelation of great significance and HAL sacrificing itself for human life. It is a classic theme for the SciFi buff, the machine taking over and making man either slave or eliminated altogether. This time the writer's pen brings about man's redemption in the storyline.
Now, what about "2011: An Odyssey in the Remaking", you may ask. First, because I am a SciFi buff myself, I am constantly intrigued by the creative minds that put together such plots and storylines. Secondly, because I am a preacher in constant search for just the right illustration to use in portraying biblical truth to a modern world, I look for the meanings in what man tries to conjure, thereby finding evidence of his need for that beyond his conjuring abilities. Thirdly, because I am a man with a desire to find a measure of meaning and hope in the fast-leaking span of life I'm allowed, I reach with renewed hope with the coming of each new year's promise.
Case in point is the projected storylines of the two movies, one projecting 2001 as a reasonable time when man's capability would reach those depths of space and technology, and 2010 as the final coming of age and understanding, i.e., contact beyond. As I sit here on the beginning edge of 2011, a new year's position, my mind begins to search for evidence that such has even elevated man's mind to capture what the movie's writer attempted to say. The paradox of the two movies for me is that both "have now passed their projected years of prophetic scifi fruition without scifi becoming reality, though some might disagree." Sadly perhaps, you, my reader would agree that though technology certainly has gone far, man's real encounter with the truth beyond has taken more of a retreat than an advance, and "2010: The Year We Make Contact" has had no such contact in most of the minds which evaluate our age of supposed enlightenment. Rather than reaching to touch and contact He Who is beyond all, we've advanced but become slaves and possessed by what we've achieved.
Most recently the pictures of Christmas come to mind more clearly. One scene in particular comes to mind, and no, I did not take a photo, though I wish I had. While our family of 11 sat casually around the living room visiting and watching something on TV, 5 of the group, the grands, were clumped in the floor, all concentrating, but not on the television or the conversations surrounding them. Clutched in their hands, with coordinated rapid-moving fingers and coordinated head-bobs, were their ipods. Oblivious to everything around them, even the TV, it was as though they were "possessed" by the grip of some unknown puppet master. Calling to the youngest of them by name, I received no response. Three times and still no break in concentration. Possessed, indeed!
I was about to comment on the situation when a flashback of my early teen years came home to roost in my memory. In a day of no ipods, TV, or any such tech advance, I was so immersed in a Hardy Boy mystery book that I could not hear my mother's call to do my chores. I was not possessed by any modern day specter, but no less a possession that seemed bent on changing my perception of priorities at the moment.
As I dwelt on this revelation and its example from my past and my grands' present, I was reminded about the Lord's words recorded by Luke in chapter 12, verse 34, "...where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." This was spoken in the context of explanation regarding the parable He had just spoken about the rich fool who had so much he felt he needed a bigger barn in which to hoard his abundant crops. Indeed, rather than possessing "the things he owned", the things possessed him. The rich young ruler of Luke 18:18f, though realizing where his heart ought to be, was possessed by his wealth, as well.
Now perhaps you see why I used the two movies to introduce my own "odyssey". No, I'm not down on ipods or new advances that naturally come with the advancing eras anymore than I am down on Hardy Boy mysteries of my own youth. Given the speed of change today, tomorrow will bring even more things we will desire to possess. The question we must wrestle with today is, "would we be willing to put all of these in the right perspective and priorities in our heart, or continue to join the world in the clamour of possessing and being possessed?"
My "2011: An Odyssey in the Remaking" is for me a new commitment, not resolution, to follow the Lord's call to the rich young ruler to sell all and follow Him Who is to be the priority of heart, mind, soul, and strength. Contrary to the writers' idea that the HALs or ipods or possessions of any sort will bring us into contact with God, it is our will and choice to keep these in proper subjection, and our focus of attention upon the Lord which will make us truly rich where it counts for the long term - eternally.
My prayer is that you, my friends, might not be so possessed, but rather encouraged as you seek to follow the invitation of Christ to put Him first in your heart, mind, soul and strength. May such an odyssey be yours in the remaking during 2011!