In 1974 Colonel William Pogue became the first American to go on strike–in space. The astronaut was part of the last, and longest, manned mission aboard the Skylab space station. About halfway through the 84-day mission, Colonel Pogue and the other astronauts requested ground controllers adjust the work schedule for more rest. “We had been over-scheduled,” Pogue said. “We were just hustling the whole day. The work could be tiresome and tedious, though the view was spectacular.”
Ground control refused. The work was too important, they said, and time was limited. Some worried the astronauts’ request was a sign of depression or physical illness. Pogue insisted neither was the case. They just wanted more time to look out the window and think, he said.
Eventually the disagreement between the crew and the controllers became so intense the astronauts went on strike. Finally a compromise was reached to give the crew more time to rest during the remaining six weeks of the flight. Pogue later wrote that having more time to look out the window at the sun and earth below also made him reflect more about himself, his crewmen, and their “human situation, instead of trying to operate like a machine.”
Isn’t Sunday supposed to be a time to cease from our work, gaze out the capsule window, and contemplate our lives and calling from a cosmic perspective?
How right the Skylab astronauts were. Imagine having a God’s eye view on things and nearly missing it due to the busy-ness of life. How right Skye was to draw the conclusion he did. And how appropriate this whole illustration is - especially during Holy Week leading up to Easter.
You see, Holy Week runs from Palm Sunday to Easter, commemorating the last week of Jesus’ earthly life as it does. Churches all across Christendom plan extra activities and services corresponding to the events that unfolded on each of those significant days as recorded in the gospels.
Beginning with Palm Sunday and extending through to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunrise – the week is often full of just such special programs, gatherings and celebrations. Now, to be sure, there is nothing wrong with these significant and meaningful services. Unless, that is, they inadvertently force us into a position of becoming so busy that we all but miss out on God’s perspective on Easter!
This week, if you as a believer find your schedule a little busier than usual, embrace that as an opportunity, not just to meet other’s expectations or even merely to fulfill traditions, but rather as a sincere opportunity to ponder Christ’s atoning sacrifice and to be challenged by the significance of all that entails!
The Psalmist once said (Psalm 119:18): “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your word.” My challenge for you today is to pray a similar prayer. And then, when God answers it and gives you the opportunity, take some time to view things from His perspective. Especially concerning Easter, take time to view things from God’s’ perspective. It will surely change your own!
(SKYE JETHANI’S BIO IS HERE: http://skyejethani.com/about/.)