This is second installment around some reflections from the film, The Martian. For the fuller intro I’d encourage you to read the Part 1 below.
The main character, Mark Watney, does a great deal of self-talk during the film as he video journals his existence. Watney necessarily becomes a man of many firsts since he is the inaugural long term resident on “the red planet.” Not the least of those firsts, endeavoring to produce four years’ worth of food all on a planet where nothing grows. With little oxygen, no accessible water to speak of, and the routine threat of violent storms, there’s a reason Mars is largely uninhabitable.
This theme from the film directed my mind toward Peter’s words in his first letter. He writes to Christ followers who would resonate with the sense that they also did not belong; to borrow a phrase, like fish out of water. Peter says to them, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.”
*Caution – spoiler alert*
Near the close of the film Watney counsels a group of his students, “space does not cooperate with you.” That it’s brutal and unforgiving in every way. Undoubtedly, as aliens and strangers we – as Jesus’ followers – can attest to that same dynamic at play in our lives. This world is broken and dysfunctional and our experience can be one of spiritual barrenness.
But, even as aliens we press on. Cultivating soil where perhaps nothing has ever grown before, all the while anticipating our Rescuer when, whose kingdom comes fully, “…will plant trees in the barren desert.” (Is.41:19)