From Deepwell Heights to Cloverleaf Vista the pulpits of this part of Exurbia have all viewed sputnik on the horizon. Comments on the world’s little red fellow traveler range from the political to the allegorical. The rector of All Souls’ was in splendid form, relating sputnik to Atoms for Peace, the prophets, the geophysical year, Zionism, and integration. It made you shiver just to hear him launch the word spooot-neek. The visiting speaker at the Village Gospel Tabernacle favored the pronunciation sputnick, and discussed the prophetic implications of the red moon.
Old Dr. Van Dyke, the emeritus pastor at Second Church, preached for Dr. Jones who was down with the flu. Surprisingly, he mentioned sputnik, too. He always chooses a text, and was preaching on the Tower of Babel passage in Genesis 11. (He insisted that it was not just a tower but a city.) It was a moving sermon. He pictured the race for the conquest of space as manifesting man’s pride and pretension. The motive that thrust sputnik soaring into orbit is the same that built the tower: “Let us make us a name …” As the patriarchal preacher described God’s sovereignty over human rebellion, he seemed to be looking down at our globe from a perspective more remote than a satellite could achieve. He was speaking as from eternity, proclaiming the Word of God.
Most memorable was his contrast between the pride of Babel and the worship of the chosen seed (Genesis 4:26): making a name for ourselves, or calling on the name of the Lord.
It was a little surprising that Dr. Van Dyke began with the sputnik. His conclusion was not novel, however. His sermon ended at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ, as all his sermons have done for half a century.
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