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Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1


What happened in 1492?

In a viral video from 2015, Dr. Robert Zubrin asks this question as he advocates for a mission to Mars. It’s very compelling, so check it out. For now, I want to take this opportunity to explore his question: what actually happened in 1492?

It turns out, alot. 

There’s a comprehensive list here, but I’ll mention just three events: 

  • The fall of Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella win their war with Granada and succeed in ending 780 years of Muslim control in Spain.
  • The Peace of Étaples is signed between England and France, ending the war between these two nations.
  • Lorenzo de' Medici, ruler of Florence and the richest man in the world, died this year.

Review the whole list, a lot more happens. And yet, Dr. Zubrin points out that although these would have been headlines if newspapers existed in 1492, the event that most people have been taught today as the most significant would be the voyage of Christopher Colombus to the Americas. As complicated as this historical event is seen in our day and age, it was this voyage that made our existence in this continent possible. 

And here’s his point: although our headlines are dominated by the lives of the extremely wealthy, or wars in foreign lands, it would be a mission to mars that would matter to future generations because it would make their lives possible.

His talk is very compelling, but after watching it, I’m left unsure on whether he’s right. But I do connect with another fact he points out: our daily headlines take up space in our hearts and minds, and can distract us from the seemingly small that actually matters.   

The only times you will see Jesus or His Church in the news is to point out the church’s failings. And, honestly, although some of the castigating the church gets in the media is sensationalism, many of those failings are real and we’re not to hide them and pretend they didn’t happen. But you will never see a headline about a local christian attending Sunday church or quietly praying in their room. Or sharing their faith with their neighbour. Or tithing to their local church. Or serving the sick and needy. Or spending time in the morning reading the bible and considering God’s Word. These moments are never headlines in our world, and yet they are the most important parts of our lives.

What dominates the airwaves, or even the major events in our small lives might lead us to despondency and take precedence in our lives over what actually matters. That’s the danger, and that’s what Jesus is talking about in our Sunday Gospel reading.

Jesus says to us: pray and don’t give up. It’s important to hear exactly what he’s saying. Because in our day, you’ll hear all kinds of motivation on how to not give up in the world: speak daily affirmations, work out hard first thing in the morning, put up posters with catchy slogans. But Jesus says: pray

Prayer is meant to be the source of our actions and source of our hope, because it is in prayer that the things of God shape our minds and hearts. Let’s be clear:  prayer isn’t a churchy lottery where we ask for things and maybe Jesus gives us the cash for the pricey toy or vacation we’ve been wanting. Prayer is a time we spend with God where our aims and designs are moulded into the shape of God’s heart. And when we live our lives living into and out of the heart of God, we can have hope that our hopes will be achieved because our hopes are tied into what God is already doing in this world, and God never fails. God, His heart and desire is the source of our hope. And this is strengthened in us as we pray. 

My friends, let’s spend time in prayer. Carve out time every day, even five minutes, and share your heart with God. And then spend time in silence, listening. Pray in stillness, or pray as you walk. Pray as you wash dishes. Pray as you tuck your children in bed. Let’s always pray, and God will make sure we never give up. For the foundation of our lives and source of our hope is Jesus Christ, and he is with us as we pray. Thanks be to God.