Lottie Williams is still the only person known to have been hit by falling space debris. She was struck but not injured by a falling piece of a US Delta II rocket while exercising in an Oklahoma park in 1997.
More famously, America’s seventy-seven-ton Skylab crashed to Earth in 1979. It spread wreckage near the Australian city of Perth, which fined the US $400 for littering.
Now we can add China’s Tiangong-1 space station to the growing list of spacecraft that have returned unceremoniously to our planet.
As Space.com headlines, it met its “fiery doom” last night, breaking apart and burning up in our atmosphere at 8:16 p.m. EDT. Some pieces of the school-bus-size craft “almost certainly survived the fall,” but they landed harmlessly in the South Pacific.
The Chinese space station’s demise points to the fact of mortality–ours and everything we make. No matter how sophisticated our technology, it has an expiration date. How many cell phones have you owned in your life?
Nothing on our fallen planet lasts forever. But the good news is that the worst thing is never the last thing: “The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17).
We know this to be true because of Easter Monday.
“A European revival has started”
Easter Monday is an official holiday in 115 countries around the world. In Guyana, people are flying kites they made last Saturday. In Italy, they are having picnics in the countryside.
Most Easter Monday celebrations are secular holidays with little or no reference to the resurrection of Jesus.
However, the reality is that every day is Easter. The Christ who rose from the grave never returned to it. He is just as risen today as he was on the first Monday after the first Easter Sunday.
And his Spirit is just as active today as he was then.
Nearly two million people watched Billy Graham’s memorial service livestreamed on Facebook. In the last month, more than 1.2 million people have visited BillyGrahamMemorial.org. Some 10,500 have indicated that they chose to become Christians or to renew lapsed faith.
The Federalist has just published an exciting report on spiritual awakening in Europe. Examples: a recent revival event in France reported more than five hundred conversions. Last summer’s Awakening Europe saw more than a thousand people in Prague declare new faith in Christ.
Massive public Christian events such as Holy Spirit nights in Stuttgart and Munich, Germany, attract thousands of Christians and interested non-believers. A 24/7 prayer movement is drawing thousands into continuous services for worship and intercession.
The author concludes: “There is a spiritual shift taking place in Europe toward a renewal and growth in all branches of Christianity. A European revival has started.”
Closer to home, the surprising popularity of Christian films such as I Can Only Imagine and Paul, Apostle of Christ (both of which I have seen and recommend to you) is part of a larger pattern. According to Entertainment Weekly, seventy-six Christian-themed movies have appeared in theaters over the last five years compared to twenty-five released between 2008 and 2012.
Jesus “is interceding for us”
All of this is happening not only because of Easter Sunday but also because of what happened after Easter Sunday.
Jesus explained to his disciples that his death, resurrection, and ascension would lead to this miraculous result: “It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). When the Holy Spirit comes, Jesus predicted, “he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (v. 8).
Jesus’ promise was fulfilled at Pentecost. Meanwhile, our Savior has become our Intercessor: “Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
So, as a result of Easter Sunday, the Spirit is convicting the world of sin while the Savior is praying for us. When we respond to their ministry by experiencing the risen Christ for ourselves, every day becomes Easter.
“Where do you feel conquered rather than a conqueror?”
In a recent First15, Craig Denison pointed to God’s promise: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). Then he asked, “Where do you feel conquered rather than a conqueror?”
Name the reason you need Jesus to be your conqueror. Look past the culture that makes Easter a holiday rather than a holy day. Know that the One who rose from his grave twenty centuries ago is just as much our living Lord as he was on the first Easter Monday.
Have you met him yet today?
As Janet and I were driving home from Easter services yesterday, a song I had never heard came on the radio. Its chorus is both simple and profound:
He is risen, he is risen, yes my Lord he is risen today
There are linens with bloodstains that is all that remains
There’s nobody left in that grave.