If you have been reading this blog for a while you might remember when I highlighted one of our student’s videos which is a response to the movie The Tree of Life. This same student, Jeremy Ratzlaff has just finished another video I want to mention.
Jeremy’s new video was really meaningful for me because this past Friday I team-taught a class on discipleship and individualism with my colleague Levi Simpson. It was really enjoyable to collaborate on a topic we are both passionate about! One of the big points of Levi’s portion of the class was that in spite of the vastness of the universe, God cares about humans precisely because they are made in his image.
If you have ever seen the picture taken by a satellite 400 billion light years away from earth, which Carl Sagan made famous known as “Pale Blue Dot” (shown below) then you have an idea of how incredibly insignificant the planet earth actually is in the scope of the universe. Levi showed this picture to highlight that as individuals, we are truly insignificant unless the God of the universe gives us purpose and worth.
After Levi finished teaching, I concluded with a few examples from modern culture which demonstrate that individualism teaches us that we should think of ourselves as god. Its amazing to think how individualistic modern culture has become when in actuality we are just small specks of dust living on a very tiny planet suspended in a beam of sunlight, and at the end of the day, we all die!
Jeremy’s new video, called Not Forsaken, is a reminder that although the feeling of insignificance that haunts the modern individualistic vision is universal, but the promise of the gospel restores the hope that we have actual significance in the eyes of our creator. I think Horatius Bonar said it best in The Rent Veil: The “cross is the axle of the universe, and cannot snap asunder. That cross is the foundation on which the universe rests, and cannot give way. The cross of Golgotha is, in this sense, everlasting; and each one who glories in it becomes partaker of its immortality.” Despite the fact that we live on a pale blue dot, God gives us significance because we are made in his image — as Paul said in Philippians, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, … who made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a slave.” If we are going to follow the example of Christ, our lives as “individuals” will only make sense when they spin on the axle of the cross!
Check out Jeremy’s short movie for a powerful reminder of these things.