I’m a fan of the kind of UFO movies that tap into that inscrutable human longing for contact with what’s “out there.” Signs was a good one, not really about aliens at all, but really about faith. E.T. is a classic not least for speaking to a growing generation of lonely children. I love the scene in Contact where those long-listening to SETI’s droning broadcast suddenly and startlingly hear an anomaly, a signal at last from another world.
But my favorite extraterrestial film is Spielberg’s other classic, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. So much angst throughout, so much mystery, so much hurt and hope, hurtling forward into the climactic moment at the end when all the hopeful longing is met with the arrival of creatures from another world. And there is a sweet, beautiful illustration of the wonder, the transcendence, the “coming home”-ness of the heart that has eternity written upon it finally being filled. If you’re like me, when you see these scenes, you feel stirred in some way. They are playing on a frequency deeper than mere entertainment.
I think this is because there is something essentially human about feeling that we are not alone.
As Christians, we know that God is real, that God is out there, that God is the settler of the restless heart. The “thing” everyone is longing for is God himself. And this God is real! So here we have the God: eternal, immortal, invisible, God only wise. He is utterly transcendent. To him alone be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Basically, we’re talking God — like, the God. And he’s written us a book. That we don’t open this divine revelation with eyes wide, mouths gaping, hearts leaping out of our chest is an astonishment of its own.
And that he has revealed himself in the person Jesus Christ, once here and returning soon, is surely faint-worthy. That he has given us his Spirit is thrilling. That the Spirit helps us understand the book is amazing. That he through the Son revealed in the book illuminated by the Spirit presents us blameless before the presence of his glory is too wonderful for words.
The God has made himself known. Staggering.