Friday, July 20, 2012

I Just Want To Back Away from the Noise

If you haven’t seen the movie Contact with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, the opening scene is worth the cost of renting it (or, as I was delighted to discover—streaming it on Netflix).

It starts out as a slow-orbit satellite view of the United States at night. Then, you find yourself starting to back away from earth, with ever-increasing speed. The earth gradually gets smaller, and smaller, and smaller.

Then, after several seconds of complete blackness, with only the earth in your field of vision, you whiz past the moon, Jupiter and Saturn. You pass by the individual boulders that make up its beautiful rings.

As if the visual spectacle isn’t riveting enough, the audio has its own fascinating progression. As the camera continues to back you away from earth for literally millions of miles, you hear radio transmissions that take you back in time. Past Presidents. Hit songs and TV themes from the 80s, then the 70s, then the 60s, and so on. You hear a moment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have a Dream speech. Neil Armstrong’s famous one small step for man transmission from the moon. Chilling audio of speeches by Hitler are among the last things you hear as you fade deeper into space.

You finally reach a distance where radio waves haven’t had the time to travel. Silence falls on the scene, and an indescribable tranquility comes over you. Beautiful, glowing heavenly bodies continue to come in and out of your field of view. The pink, purple and amber glow of galaxies paint the glory of God across the blackness of space. The complete silence strips away any distractions that would have kept you from seeing their beauty.

It is indescribably beautiful. It's just you, and the universe.

My first time making this cinematic trip was an unforgettable experience. It affected me. Most of all, it showed me how noise (even well-meaning noise) can be a pollutant of sorts, working against having a clear-eyed view of who God is, and all that He has made.

The blogs have been lit up lately with a lot of ground level noise that has distracted me from what I should be focusing on. Perhaps you're feeling the same way.

So I wanted to post that opening scene here, in hopes that you'll join me in a return to silent reflection on the God Who is there. The God who made everything. The God who will still be the same God, after all the temporary static fades into silence.

Enjoy it. Enjoy Him.

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