The Legacy of Columbia
Pearl Harbor, the assassination of JFK, the Challenger explosion, the Twin Towers, and now Columbia.
Americans are stunned. Flags are flying. Drivers are courteous. Strangers talk to each other. <![if !vml]><![endif]>
Once again, Americans are united. That’s when we’re at our best.
Cruel reality has again reminded us of the dangers that the brave men and women of the space program face every time they go off into space. These modern-day pioneers will not soon be forgotten.
On Sunday, Grace Community Church in Houston mourned the loss of the seven astronauts who perished aboard Columbia. Mission commander Rick Husband, a member of the church choir, had tried four times to become an astronaut.
He never gave up on his childhood dream. His absence on Sunday was marked in the room where the choir met by a photo of the shuttle commander in uniform. <![if !vml]><![endif]>
Then the choir turned from their grief to the task of comforting nearly 2,800 members and guests with song. Choir members remembered Husband as a warm and caring man with a beautiful voice. He sang a solo on the church’s recording Rise Up and Praise Him and was part of Christmas and Easter productions for years. “He was such a good man, so humble and kind and sweet,” said Kristi Frieze, who has sung with the choir for three years. Deanna Eaton brought the framed picture of Husband that she propped up on the piano at the early-morning gathering. Husband had signed it, “To Deanna the praise machine,” and as she left she held onto the image.
The apostle Paul once said, “Neither count I my life dear unto myself” (Acts 20:24). Life is dear in God’s sight. But Paul counted not his life dear unto himself. Life is God’s gift to us, and we must give account of the way we live it. When we count it as His and not ours, “we lose what we cannot keep to gain what we cannot lose.” The man who uttered these words, Jim Elliott, was martyred in the jungles of Ecuador. People looked upon his mangled body, but his soul had gone home through gates of splendor. He counted not his life dear unto himself. That is God’s way. That is the Christian way. That was Rick Husband’s way.
Life is like a grain of wheat. To plant it is to recognize its value; to keep it is to destroy its value. Let us be “planted” Christians who count not life dear to ourselves so that we may live for the service of God in whatever field of endeavor He has called us.
February 3, 2003
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.