One of my favorite movies is Contact from 1997 with Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey. A scene from the movie popped in my head when I was preparing for my sermon last week exploring the “Lies We Tell Ourselves: If I Only Had ‘This’ I Would Be Happy”. McConaughey’s character, Palmer Joss, an author and theologian who wrestles because there are things he has experienced that he can’t explain outside of having faith. In this scene he is being interviewed by Larry King who is asking him questions to heighten the conflict between science and religion. While the focus on the conversation was really between science and religion; (which I don’t see the a need for there really to be a conflict there) I thought his character asks some great questions.

“The question I am asking is this; are we happier as a human race? Is the world fundamentally a better place? We shop at home, we surf the web at the same time we feel emptier, lonelier, and more cut off from each other than any other time in history. We are becoming a synthesized society in a great big hurry to get to the next temporary sensation. I think it is because we are looking for meaning. What is the meaning? We have mindless jobs.We take frantic vacations. We take deficit financed trips to the mall to buy more things that we think are going fill these holes in our lives. Is it any wonder we have lost our sense of direction?”

It was in the middle of Palmer asking these profound questions pointing to humanity’s hungers, needs, and search for meaning is when the transmission from the aliens is first received from space. In the midst of reflecting on those deep longings and our empty attempt to satisfy them is when contact was first made(1).  It just struck me that in the midst of all of humanities greatest searches for meaning, purpose, our hungers,  and desires God sent Jesus Christ to meet us right in the midst of these places of struggle and need. Jesus Christ has come to satisfy our hunger to be valued, to be loved, to have hope, and meaning. While I still having moments of dissatisfaction and longing in my life, I am learning and growing and experiencing more and more to find myself rooted in the reality of God’s love revealed in Jesus Christ. Knowing we are eternally loved and valued by God changes our experience with these hungers and longings.

Lord Jesus, You are the bread of life that truly satisfies. May we continue to discover the depth of your grace and love that calls us precious and infinitely valued children of God, so we may live in freedom from a sense of hopeless longing. Holy Spirit, continue to guide us to live in the satisfying ways of grace that leads to abundant life. Amen. Continue reading