by Bob Wickizer

The Tether
Rev. Bob Wickizer
Micah 3:5-12; Psalm 43; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13, 17-20; Matthew 23:1-12
31 October, 1999

In June of 1965 two NASA astronauts orbited the earth at an altitude of 60 miles during the Gemini IV mission. As the first space mission in history involving an "EVA" or "Extra-Vehicular Activity," Gemini IV provided us with an unforgettable image of our watery blue planet in the background with a space-suited Captain White floating in the vastness of space while connected to the launch vehicle by only a thin tether. As I thought about this image through the years I moved from the idea of the absurd challenge of a single tiny human life floating in the enormity of space to a focus on the tether representing our ultimate need to stay connected to each other and to God. A lifetime of growth led me from the cocky attitude of a young scientist to a more humble position where relationship, intimacy and reconciliation are more important than knowledge, money or power.

For those who have not experienced the joys of college freshman physics, the tether might seem to be an unimportant, passive thing, but because of the rotation of the space capsule, the force on Captain White would tend to fling him straight off into space. The tether exerts a counter force to keep Captain White within reach of the space capsule. Like the tether holding the astronaut to the space capsule, God's Word is not a thing or a noun; it is an active force always working to keep us close to God. But when we reduce God's Word to a collection of text like the Bible or the scripture in these bulletin inserts, we rob the living Word of God from its ability to transform us, to heal us and to tether us close to God. It is only human to try to control God's Word so that it stays inside our comfort zone and does not challenge us. I know for example that when I try to constrain the scripture only to the message that I want to hear and that I feel comfortable receiving, I have snapp ...

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