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Religion: Don’t look up

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The movie “Don’t Look Up,” released last month on Netflix, has become the talk on social media according to Buzz Feed. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Meryl Streep, the doomsday movie is a satire of our current culture. Sometimes it seems too close to reality for comfort, though reality has become increasingly difficult to define.

When an astronomer and his graduate student discover a comet on a collision course with earth they find it impossible to communicate their warnings to the world. The movie takes its title from a political campaign urging the general population not to look up into the sky where the approaching comet has become clearly visible.

Like most movies today, the script has a penchant for the “F” word, used so often that it loses its shock value. But, in such a situation, what else are they going to do but shout an obscenity at the top of their lungs?

The interesting twist in the movie is the final decision by the astronomer who has failed in his efforts to warn the world of the approaching doom. When the President offers him a last-ditch escape aboard a secret space ship that can transport a small number of humans to the nearest “Goldilocks planet,” the astronomer refuses and, instead, gathers his family, his student and her boyfriend for a final dinner at his home.

With the comet moments away, they gather around the table and realize no one knows how to pray, except the student’s boyfriend, who has secretly confessed that he is a “believer.” He volunteers to lead them in prayer. They join hands, and he offers this prayer for the group:

“Dearest Father and Almighty Creator, we ask for your grace tonight despite our pride. Your forgiveness despite our doubt. Most of all Lord, we ask for your love to soothe us through these dark times. May we face whatever is to come in your divine will with courage and open hearts of acceptance. Amen.”

His prayer represents a moment of sanity in an insane movie. Perhaps it will point our generation toward the one source of sanity in an increasingly insane world.

Previous generations have found their way forward through faith. Every generation has within it the seeds of its own destruction as well as the seeds of salvation. The question is always which seeds we will sow and which we will nurture. Joshua voiced the decision for his generation, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you shall serve … But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. His books are available at Email

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