Film Friday: The Aeronauts

‘I believe the answer lies in the stars.’

‘To predict the weather could save hundreds of thousands of lives.’

Amelia and James take to the skies in a hot air balloon, hoping to break the record for going higher than anyone else has ever gone. James wants to learn about the weather too. Amelia just wants to reach the stars.

This couple of hours in a balloon turns into an emotional and physical rollercoaster for these two adventurers. The higher they go the more wondrous the view, but the more difficult the conditions. And though Amelia is initially flamboyant and playful, she is in reality struggling with painful memories from a previous flight.

The longing for adventure, the quest to discover more. Perhaps these are signs of our hunger for something greater than this life. Something more colourful, less predictable, more vibrant and satisfying. The prodigal son for example, in Luke 15, left home in search of another kind of life. Old St Augustine once said something like, ‘Our hearts are restless until we find our rest in God.’ Amelia mentions the answer lying in the stars. Well for the writer of Psalm 8 and for Abraham in Genesis 15, you could say there was truth in this. The stars were given to Abraham as a nightly reminder of God’s presence and promise, as he ventured into the unknown. Leaving behind all that was familiar (not unlike Amelia and James in that balloon) and heading into new territory. Every time the night fell and the stars above him twinkled he would remember the promise of God that he would have more descendants than stars. For the writer of Psalm 8 the stars say two things. They speak of the incredible nature of the creator, and yet also his intimate care for people. As small as we might sometimes feel on this buckled and bumbling planet. These two characteristics are contrasted and brought together in a few verses. God, above and beyond and behind all things, yet caring and close and counting us as precious. If you are anything like me you need reminders, like Abraham, that God is with you. There are plenty of signals out there to make us question whether we are actually alone. I sometimes hand out jigsaw pieces when I speak, for folks to hang onto to remind them they are a vital and precious part of God’s big picture in the world. Each one of us unique and vital to make the picture complete.

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