..and others too

Humankind is blessed with an insatiable curiosity. Whether it is Winnie The Pooh declaring that an expedition would be “an adventure”, the crew of Apollo 11 heading for the moon, or St Brendan setting out from County Kilkenny in a leather curragh to discover what lay beyond the seas, we just can’t seem to help it. President Nixon’s speech, written by William Saffire in case Aldrin and Armstrong were left stranded on the surface of the moon, captured some of this:

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding… In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man. In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

It may be engineering which got them to the moon, but it was curiosity which sent them there.

As I wrote yesterday, it is a kind of spiritual curiosity which drew Moses to the burning bush, rather then sending him from it. It also drew Mary to the feet of Jesus instead of rushing round after him, and Philip’s friend Nathaniel to see if any good thing really could come out of Nazareth.

From the second we are born, we begin to explore the world tirelessly through our five senses. We hoover up data about our new home just as fast as we can take it in.  Watch a baby’s fingers when they are at rest – constantly feeling and touching, even before sight and sound are fully tuned in.

As preachers we need to harness that inquisitive energy – constantly whetting the appetite for all that God has to say. Do it right – and perhaps we will land up like the Apostle John, still relishing his encounter with Jesus on into his old age, and urging others to do the same: 1 John 1 v. 1 – 3

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